January 26, 2013

Pioneers Outlast Defiance in Double-Overtime Thriller

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DEFIANCE, Ohio – Defiance and Transylvania met for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon, as the Pioneers and Yellow Jackets battled in a double-overtime instant classic. Transy managed to escape the Hive with a well-earned 84-81 victory.

The Jackets came out firing from the opening tip, hoping to avenge their loss to the Pioneers from earlier this season. DC scored the first eight points on the afternoon, jumping out to a quick 8-0 lead with just two minutes of action gone by.

After the hot start, Transylvania outplayed the Jackets for the remainder of the opening frame. The Pioneers evened the score with the Jackets at 26-26 with seven minutes remaining in the half and then went on to outscore DC by a margin of 17-6 to grab an 11-point advantage with just over a minute remaining before the halftime whistle.

The Jackets got a key three-point make from Erica King with only 16 seconds left in the period to cut the TU lead to eight at 43-35 going into the break. King led the Purple and Gold attack in the first 20 minutes with 14 points on 5-8 shooting, including an impressive 4-7 from deep.

Coming out of the break, Defiance showed its resiliency and toughness, as the squad refused to let the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference leaders run away with the game. The Jackets cut the lead down to just two points with 10:20 remaining on the clock, outscoring the Pioneers 16-10 in the stretch.

Transy responded to the Jacket threat by scoring six consecutive points of its own over the next three minutes to increase the lead back up to eight at 59-51.

With their backs against the wall and their undefeated HCAC home record on the line, the Yellow Jackets dug deep and were able to grab its first lead at 64-63 off a Rachel Ciminillo trey with 3:13 left in regulation.

The Pioneers immediately reclaimed the lead on its next possession, as Madisen Webb hit a layup and a free throw to convert the three-point play and put TU on top by two at 66-64.

The score remained 66-64 over the next two minutes and then Defiance's Megan Zachrich hit her second clutch shot in as many games to level the score at 66-66 with 30 seconds left. Transylvania's Nicole Coffman had a shot at the buzzer to win the game but was unable to convert, sending the contest into overtime.

The first overtime session featured strong defense, as both squads dug in on the defensive end of the floor. A pair of layups from TU's Coffman and Alex McKenzie put the Pioneers on top at 70-66 with 1:43 on the scoreboard, but Defiance answered at the free throw line, going 4-4 over the next 45 seconds to tie the game at 70-70 with under a minute to go. Both teams had opportunities to take the lead and win the game in the waning seconds of the first overtime but neither teams' shot fell and the teams were headed to the HCAC's first double-overtime game since December 9, 2009.

Transylvania was eager to put the game away, as the Pioneers rattled off six-straight points in just over a minute's time to begin the second overtime period.

The Yellow Jackets once again clawed back, scoring eight of the game's next 12 points to trim the deficit to two at 80-78 with 30 seconds left in the stanza. In the remaining seconds, Transylvania was able to convert just enough free throws and escaped Defiance with a three-point 84-81 victory.

DC received a pair of 20-point performances for the first time all season on the afternoon, as Zachrich led all Jacket scorers with a career-high 22 points and added 11 boards for her second double-double of the season. The Purple and Gold's other 20-point scorer was King, who finished with 20 points, as the junior connected on six shots from distance.

The loss drops the Jackets' HCAC record to 8-4 and moves its overall record to 11-8. Defiance is back in action on Wednesday, January 30, as Defiance hosts Manchester in a conference matchup. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

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