The Lions come out of their timeout-with only 53.6 seconds left in the game-clinging to a dangerously slim one-point lead, 67 to Emmanuel’s 66. Senior guard Maude Okrah drives the ball up the court, gets fouled, but misses her free throw. The Lions recover, and junior point guard Andrea Kosek is fouled. She steps to the foul line.
She elevates the ball. It drops straight through the rim: Emerson leads by two and gains a bit of breathing room. She looses her second, and like the last, it drops straight through.
“I stepped up to the line-I knew I had to make these free throws so we’d have a bigger lead and they wouldn’t have a chance,” Kosek, a audio post production major, said.
The Saints didn’t put up another point for the remainder of the match. After a failed Emmanuel three-pointer with eight seconds left, a foul shot by sophomore forward Kathy Andrade sealed the game for the Lions.
“All I knew was that I had to hit one, and I’ve been struggling from the line,” Andrade, a broadcast journalism major, said. “I gave myself confidence. I told myself that I was gonna make it, and it went in.”
As the final seconds ticked off and the end-game buzzer put the exclamation mark on the win, the Lions did the only thing they could-they celebrated. With the fans cheering loudly in the background, the Lions ran for their bench and embraced each other.
“It feels great,” said Kosek over the thundering cheers and screams. “It’s important because we’ve never beaten them in Emerson history.”
With the win the Lions have come one step closer to clinching the second seed in the conference. Now with their third win in a row, the Lions are picking up momentum for the playoffs, and fast.
The Lions offensive attack was lead by freshman Rachel Kaye, a iBeacon/i correspondent, who tallied 14 points on 13 attempts. Seven players totaled eight or more points in the Lions win, one that Head Coach Bill Gould said he saw coming.
“I think they were ready for it,” said Gould. “Being ready for it and actually going out and doing it are two different things, but they went out and did it. I’m really proud of them.”
Emerson has now won five of their last six games dating all the way back to Jan. 24 against Simmons College. Gould said the 25-point victory over Simmons was what kicked the streak off.
“I think that goes back a few games back when we beat Simmons and played almost a near perfect game. Then certainly the game against Norwich where I think the kids convinced themselves that, ‘Hey, we’re pretty good,'” Gould said.
On Saturday the Lions defeated the Norwich Cadets by 20 points, a significant jump over last year’s 25-point loss to the same school.
The team is playing at the top of their game, and they know it. Andrade said the win against Emmanuel leads her to believe that the team can maintain this level of play with the playoffs right around the corner.
“We’re confident,” said Andrade. “We just beat the number one team in the league, and I think we’re confident and ready to go.”
The Lions have just two games left in their schedule before the GNAC tournament begins. On Feb. 14 they play St. Joseph’s College at home, and they wrap up their season in New Haven, Conn. on Feb. 21 against Albertus Magnus College. Both games are in-conference.
Kosek feels the team has little reason to worry after their display against Emmanuel.
“Clearly this shows we’re one of the top teams in the GNAC,” she said. “We’re going into the tournament pretty confident and hopefully we can play up to our level.”