Bates 73, Colby 71 (OT)
NO. 2 BATES SURVIVES NO. 3 COLBY, 73-71, IN OVERTIME
WATERVILLE, Maine -- For the second time in their past three meetings in Waterville, the Bates College women's basketball team (9-1) defeated CBB rivals Colby College (6-4) in overtime, taking a 73-71 decision.
Bates, ranked second in New England by the New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA), led by as many as six in the first half, but only took a two-point advantage into the locker room when senior Jolene Thurston (Post Mills, Vt.) hit a 17-foot jumper with six seconds left in the stanza. Colby, third in the NEWBA poll, kept the game close despite 12 first-half turnovers by shooting 54 percent from the field (14-26). Thurston, who scored her 1,000th career point two days earlier, led all scorers with eight points at the break.
The White Mules opened the second stanza on an 8-1 run over the first 2:30 to take a 39-34 lead, their biggest of the game, at 17:23. Bates responded, but not until after coach Jim Murphy removed his starting lineup just over a minute into the period. Bates went on a 14-0 run of their own, started by a 3-pointer from first-year F/G Carla Flaherty (Gorham, Maine). The run was capped by three straight hoops from senior Emily King (Lebanon, N.H.), who put the Bobcats up 48-39 t the 11:47 mark with her fourth career trifecta. Bates picked up their largest margin of the night at the 7:38 mark on a 3-pointer by rookie guard Marcy Grossman (Eastsound, Wash.).
Colby played their best ball of the game from that point, holding Bates to just one field goal over the next six minutes. The Mules' 16-5 run gave them their first lead since the 15:44 mark when first-year center Sarah Walsh (Catonsville, Md.) hit two free throws to put Colby up 61-60 with 1:05 left in the game. Walsh had six points over that six minute period, while rookie Bianca Belcher (Lewiston, Maine) had five.
Both teams played tough defense over the final minute of regulation, before Grossman game the Bobcats what looked to be a safe lead. She penetrated and hit a tough, contested seven-footer with 18.2 seconds left to give Bates a 62-61 lead, then hit two free throws with 4.9 second left after the Bobcats recovered a Colby turnover. But Belcher extended the game by dribbling the length of the floor and working free to hit a 27-footer as time expired, sending the game into OT tied at 64.
Colby looked to take early advantage of some Bates fatigue, as junior Jen Hallee (Nashua, N.H.) hit a 3-pointer and Belcher picked Grossman's pocket to put the Mules up, 69-64, just 40 seconds into the extra time. Grossman atoned with another field goal to cut the deficit to three with 4:02 remaining. Colby's Carla Paricella (Bedford, Mass.) hit their final bucket of the night with 2:15 remaining. The Bobcats took advantage of the double bonus, as junior Kate McLaughlin (Laconia, N.H.) and Thurston each hit a pair of free throws to but Bates down one, 71-70, with 50.2 seconds left. The Bobcats put together their best defensive stand of the night on the next possession, as shot clock wound down to five seconds before McLaughlin leaped in front of a pass, dribbled the length of the floor and hit the decisive layup with 15.2 seconds on the clock. Colby got off one more shot, but King was fouled on the rebound and hit one of two free throws with 5.3 seconds left on the clock. Colby senior Jenn Freese (Veazie, Maine) hit the front of the iron with a last-second desparation shot as the Bobcats hung on for the 73-71 win.
Colby's Walsh led all players with 19 points and 14 rebounds, while senior Erin Cole-Karagory (Caribou, Maine) had 14 in the losing effort. McLaughlin topped the Bobcats with 17 points and six boards, while Grossman had 15, including 13 points after halftime.