The women’s basketball team edged out the United States Coast Guard Academy 70-66 in an overtime thriller on Saturday afternoon.
The Lions raced to an early 12-2 lead as sophomore forward Sam Boyle scored eight points in the first two minutes. The Lions led 19-10 by the end of the first quarter.
The Bears erased the early lead with a 7-0 run to start the second quarter as the Lions struggled shooting the ball. However, the Lions held on to a 25-21 advantage at the half despite scoring just six points in the period.
Head coach Bill Gould said Coast Guard’s toughness and scoring capability made the game tightly contested.
“They are a high-scoring team and high-volume shooting team and they’re a military academy. There’s no give up or quit in that kind of a team,” Gould said. “They really played hard and we let up just enough and they played a little bit harder.”
In the second half, both teams scored more consistently. The Bears fought back and tied the game on multiple occasions because of their sharp shooting from three-point range. The Bears held a 55-54 lead with 23 seconds left when they fouled sophomore guard Rachel Davey. She made one of her two throws to tie the game at 55, which sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the score remained tied at 62 until junior guard Kate Foultz made two free throws. The Lions eventually pulled away and won 70-66.
Four players scored in double digits for the Lions, led by Sam Boyle’s 17 points. Critically, the team made their last eight free throws to pull away from the Bears. Coast Guard’s Micaela Martinelli scored a game-high 19 points in the losing effort.
Gould said the team’s discipline improved and credited Foultz’s crucial free throws as the biggest factor for the win.
“I just think we’ve gotten so much better at being aggressive and following the game plan,” Gould said. “In specifics to this game: Kate Foultz’s two free throws were just massive and I don’t know if we would’ve won without [them].”
Foultz explained what went through her mind as she went to the free throw line in overtime.
“This was the first time I was using a new routine in a game,” Foultz said. “As I spun the ball, I just thought of a joke that my sister and I have between the two of us and smiled about that. That just makes me relaxed a bit more. I was so excited because I definitely have not been clutch prior to that so that was really exciting.”
With the win, the Lions place fifth in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference with a record of 7-5. With only four games left to play, the team seeks back-to-back playoff appearances. Only the top seven teams qualify for the NEWMAC playoffs.
The Lions will play No. 2 NEWMAC ranked opponent Springfield College at home on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.