Turnovers Doom Gators in Overtime Thriller
MEADVILLE, Pa. – The Allegheny women's basketball team took the defending NCAC champions to the brink; but despite dominating a majority of statistical categories the Gators would commit 29 turnovers resulting in an 85-91 overtime loss to the Big Red of Denison.
Both sides started off hot, as they would match each other shot for shot in the opening five minutes. Denison would take its biggest lead in regulation shortly after, going on a quick 7-2 run to take a 13-8 lead. Allegheny would answer immediately, sparked by a jumper in the paint by junior Heidi Goeller, and go on a 10-0 run of their own, turning a five point deficit into a five point advantage.
The Gators shot lights out in the first half, connecting on 15-25 shots from the floor, while holding Denison to just 33.3 percent shooting on 13-39 from the floor. Allegheny would vault their lead up to 13 with 6:36 remaining, when they would go on a 9-0 run behind the shooting of Goeller, junior Daryl Ford and freshman Marina Scarantino.
The Big Red would start to slowly chip away at the lead, but a pair of layups from Goeller and Ford, along with the hustle from junior Ann Ryan helped Allegheny head into halftime with a three point advantage.
The Gators would come out of the half firing on all cylinders, just as they had done in the first half, regaining an eight point lead less than three minutes into the final frame.
The threesome of Goeller, Ford, and sophomore Erica Restich would put on a clinic for a majority of the second half, both in the paint and beyond the arc. Restich would hit three of her four three's in the second half, while Goeller and Ford helped the Gators finish with a 42-30 edge on points in the paint.
However, Denison would hang around and stay within striking distance, because of Allegheny's turnover situation.
The Big Red would come all the way back and tie the game at 64 with 6:13 remaining, when the Gators looked to finally put the visitors away. Scarantino used a phenomenal ball fake to get open, and hit a huge three to put Allegheny 67-64. Shortly after, Restich would grab a defensive rebound and take it coast-to-coast to give Allegheny a five point cushion.
Allegheny would maintain their five point lead on a pair of Restich free throws with 24 seconds remaining on the clock, seemingly putting a wrap on the defending conference champs. But a jumper by Jane Windler, and missed free throw by Ford gave the Big Red one last shot with 12 seconds to go.
Denison would inbound the ball to Kinsey Bryant-Lees, who frantically looked to get it to one of the Big Red's dangerous outside shooters. The Gators would blanket Nicole Coggins and Serafina Nuzzo, who combined for six of Denison's eight three pointers, forcing Bryant-Lees to throw up a prayer from just behind the arc. To the crowds shock, including her own, Bryant-Less' prayer was answered when she would sink her only basket of the game, forcing overtime at 78 all.
The Gators would take a quick three point lead, but the momentum would shift dramatically when Restich, who had poured in a game high 25 points, suffered an apparent knee injury and was lost for the remainder of the overtime period. Allegheny would continue their shooting barrage, going 3-4 in the extra session; however, Denison would hit four of their seven attempts from the floor, in addition to going 5-6 from the charity stripe to seal the game with a 91-85 victory.
Goeller would finish the game with 24 points and eight rebounds; Ford ended the game one rebound shy of a third straight double-double, netting 21 points and nine rebounds; and Scarantino had a fantastic game chipping in with 10 points on 4-6 shooting, and dishing out seven assists while playing 41 out of a possible 45 minutes.
The loss drops Allegheny to 14-9 overall, and 9-5 in conference play as they look forward to their final away game of the regular season on Wednesday, February 15 against the College of Wooster. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 pm.