There’s five seconds left on the clock and she gets the ball in the post with the Bearkats down one in the second half.

She dribbles left then cuts back right toward the basket. The ball rolls off her fingers and smacks the middle of the backboard. It falls through the net as the crowd at Johnson Coliseum erupts, cheering on a dramatic game-winning shot.

That’s what might have been for Sam Houston State senior Roshunda Betts. Recruited as a forward out of Hughes Springs High School, Betts was brought to Huntsville to play basketball. But a little twist of fate led to bigger things for the multitalented Bearkat.

After a torn ACL led to the end of her SHSU basketball career, Betts turned her attention to track and field. And now, she is about to make her second-straight appearance at the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., this week.

“I came here to play basketball, but I still had track,” Betts said. “Track wasn’t going very well in the beginning, but once basketball fell off, I had a chance to do track full time and got some good work in.”

It all started two years ago when in order to find out which athletes could do what, the SHSU track and field coaches set up a decathlon. Since the javelin throw isn’t a UIL sanctioned event, the coaches had participants throw a rubber knockingball which is the same weight as a javelin.

Betts waited for her turn, and after her throw, a star was born.

“Roshunda has been throwing things since she was like 7,” SHSU track and field coach Curtis Collier said. “She played softball and the javelin throw is a similar motion. The motion itself was there, it just needed to be developed. Roshunda is just phenomenally powerful — it’s off the charts. When (coach) James Thomas first identified it at tryouts, he came running in my office and said, “Coach, Ro can throw things.”

“It wasn’t just she could throw better than everybody else, but we had a girl that went to nationals in the javelin that threw a rubber knockingball 43 meters. The first time Ro ever did it, she threw it 48 meters. It was like, wow, she really can throw.”

And that she could. In just her first year of full competition in 2005, Betts finished first in the javelin at SHSU’s York Relays (where in her eighth collegiate throw set a school record of 176-feet, 9-inches), the Houston Tellez, the TCU Invitational and the Ty Terrel Relays.

She capped off the regular season by helping the SHSU women win their first-ever Southland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship with an individual title in the javelin. Her school record throw at the York Relays earned her an at-large selection to the NCAA championships.

“(The javelin) was difficult to learn, but I’m willing to be taught,” Betts said. “I’m still learning, but it is coming along. I’ve gotten better this year than I was a year ago. I’m more consistent now, and I’m happy with that.”

Betts repeated as the SLC javelin champ in 2006 as the women’s team again won the overall title. She didn’t have her best performance at the regional meet a couple of weeks ago, but like the year before, she had a throw earlier in the year at the Texas Southern Relays that earned her another at-large selection.

Her throw of 173-feet, 5-inches was the ninth best in the nation in 2006.

But what makes this trip to nationals so unique is the fact she is also competing in another event — the triple jump. Betts earned her automatic berth in the NCAA national triple jump competition by finishing third at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Austin on May 27 with a school record mark of 42-feet, 11 1/2-inches.

Qualifying in a second event didn’t come easy, but she wasn’t about to go down without a fight.

“The first day was very upsetting, so I wanted to come out do better on the second day,” said Betts about the regional triple jump finals. “I went out like it was my last time jumping and jumped pretty far. I was happy with it and had a big smile on my face.”

The road Betts has traveled to become a premier collegiate track and field star at SHSU has had its fair share of obstacles. She has fought through three knee surgeries (one in high school and two in college) to get to this point. And rest assured that when she lines up to compete in the triple jump and javelin beginning Wednesday, she will have that big ol’ smile on her face.