Women's Hoops Falls at Buzzer to SLU
Billikens top Colonials, 62-59, on last-second heave
WASHINGTON - Fans that took in Saturday's matinee at the Charles E. Smith Center between GW women's basketball and the visiting Saint Louis Bilikens certainly got their money's worth. Alas, it was the Saint Louis faithful that left the happiest.
In a thrilling finish befitting of the pedigree of the programs, GW and SLU exchanged body blows throughout an overtime session that featured three ties and six lead changes in the 5:00 stanza. Just as it seemed like the last team with the ball would win, Saint Louis made that prophecy come true. After a missed free throw could've put GW up one with six seconds on the clock, a Saint Louis break and a running, off-balance three-point heave from Jackie Kemph gave the Bilikens the 72-69 OT win.
The overtime theatrics were preceded by a massive three-pointer from Mei-Lyn Bautista who made her lone shot attempt in the fourth quarter a huge one with a three-point ball with :10 seconds left in regulation to knot the score at 58. After neither team scored on its final possession of the fourth, the game went to overtime and the real fun started.
GW's Brianna Cummings and Saint Louis' Kerri McMahan went toe-to-toe in OT, with Cummings accounting for eight of her game 20 points in the extra session, while McMahan dropped in six of her team-high 15 points in a 3-of-3 performance in the additional five minutes of play. After a Bautista free throw put GW up 63-62 with 2:22 to play, McMahan answered with her quick first step to get by a GW defender and put her team up 64-63. Cummings answered on the other end to retake a one-point lead, setting the stage for the pair to repeat their basket exchange but this time Cummings turned her's into a three-point play that gave the Colonials a two-point edge, 68-66, with :19 seconds to play.
Saint Louis' Jenny Vliet then took center stage, doing her best Bautista impression from the fourth quarter, with a corner three of her own to put SLU up one. Cummings was subsequently fouled on her go-ahead attempt with six seconds to play, and left the game deadlocked after sinking 1-of-2 free throws; her only free throw miss of the game. The final flurry was all Kemph and the Colonials' faithful left with a gut punch.
GW will have its chance at revenge in three weeks time on February 17th at Saint Louis, who pulled ahead by a game in the A-10 standings with a 5-3 record to the Colonials' 4-4 mark in conference.
Bautista finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting to equal Kelli Prange's scoring tally. Maddison Gits double-doubled for Saint Louis with 12 points and 17 rebounds, while Vliet netted 13. The back-to-back A-10 Player of the Year Kemph was the difference maker, though she was held relatively in check with 13 points and five assists after entering play averaging 14.6 ppg and a league-leading 7.8 assists per contest. GW's defense as whole showed flashes of brilliance, including forcing seven first quarter turnovers against a team that entered DC having committed just 11.2 miscues per game in the five outings. The Billikens were also on a streak tallying 78.4 points per game in their last nine tries, but needed an extra five minutes on Saturday to get to 72.
For GW, after Wednesday's Field Trip Day win against Rhode Island, the Colonials can make their current three-game home stand a winning one on Thursday night at 7pm against La Salle in the tip-off event of Homecoming Weekend.
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