|Three Extra Periods And Still Not Enough|
Vanguard’s Sarah Boyd hit the go-ahead jumper with 3:05 remaining and the 12th-ranked Lions went on to outlast The Master’s College 92-84 in a three-overtime thriller Saturday evening in Bross Gym. The loss was the fourth in a row for the Mustangs (12-7, 5-5) and third straight against a team ranked in the NAIA’s Top 25.
Boyd, who tied for team-high scoring honors with 18 points and dished out a game-high eight assists, saved eight of those points for the third extra period when the Lions snapped an 82-all deadlock and wound up outscoring the Mustangs 10-2 down the stretch.
The whole overtime thing was initiated when TMC’s diminutive dynamo Erica Inge banked in a running three-pointer at the buzzer, tying the game at 66 and sending the partisan crowd into a frenzy. That was just the beginning of an emotional, stomach-churning stretch of play that added an additional 15 minutes of playing time to the evening.
In the first extra period, Inge’s free throw with less than a minute gone handed the Mustangs a 67-66 lead. On their next trip down the court, the Mustangs turned to center Theresa Brown and the big junior center rewarded her teammates with a layup for a three-point lead.
After Molly Pfohl pulled the Lions to within one (69-68) at the 2:16 mark, Brown restored her team’s three-point edge with a jumper. It stayed that way until 40 seconds were left when Boyd calmly stroked a three-pointer from the top of the arc. A Mustang turnover gave the Lions a shot to win but Pfohl missed a close-range layup with two ticks left and the contest moved on to the second overtime.
Staying with the same pattern established in the first extra period, the Mustangs jumped ahead quickly as Zoe Scott buried a three-pointer and Inge converted two free throws for a 76-71 advantage. They were still up by five (78-73) with just over a minute left when the Lions started another comeback that was capped by Boyd.
Allison Burns’ layup with 1:18 remaining made it a three-point game and Boyd closed the deficit to one (78-77) on a layup with 33 seconds remaining. Following a pair of Brown free throws, Vanguard turned to Boyd who missed a three-pointer but she got another chance when her miss was rebounded by Pfohl and this time she drilled another trifecta, sending the game to the third extra period.
In the third overtime, the Mustangs moved in front on two more Brown free throws but then Pfohl scored on a layup and Boyd tallied the next eight points to move her team in front for good and provide some much-needed cushion.
Overtime was in nobody’s thought processes with 16:20 left to play when the Mustangs trailed by 20 points (50-30). That margin came about from a 12-2 run by the Lions over the first 3:40 of the second half. From that point on, though, the Mustangs began to methodically chip away at the deficit. A Brown three-point play fueled a 10-2 burst over a 3½-minute stretch that closed the gap to 52-40.
Vanguard was still up 55-40 with over 12 minutes left when Brown took over the game, scoring 11 of her squad’s next 14 points and pulling the Mustangs to within 63-54 at the 3:24 mark. Brown’s free throw with 4:39 remaining triggered a 10-0 run in a four-minute window and when Inge canned a pair of free tosses with 42 seconds showing, the Mustangs were down 63-61.
Pfohl snapped a nearly five-minute scoring drought with a layup at the 19-second mark but the Mustangs were far from finished. Brown hit a jumper with seven seconds left and Inge then quickly fouled Chelsea Alfafara who made only one of two free tosses. Brown rebounded the back-end miss, outletted the ball quickly to Inge who raced down the court and banked in the shot, forcing the first overtime.
Following 55 minutes of action, nobody really remembered what happened in the first half but it was essentially owned by the Lions who built a twelve-point lead (24-12) on the way to a 38-28 advantage at halftime. In one 5:39 span, they ripped off 12 straight points, turning a three-point deficit into a nine-point (14-5) advantage.
Five straight points by Lauren Labat trimmed the deficit to four points but a 10-2 run on the way to a 24-12 lead gave the Lions some breathing room. The Mustangs never got closer than seven points (26-19) and went to the locker room down by 10.
In defeat, Brown was magnificent, notching her fourth double-double of the season with career-highs of 29 points and 19 rebounds. She finished 8-15 from the field and 13-15 from the line. Although Inge plodded her way through a poor (4-17) shooting night, the senior All-American hit the big shots when it counted, tallying 20 points while playing a draining 52 minutes.
In search of a win that will stop the losing streak, the Mustangs turn their attention next Tuesday to Hope International in a game that will tip off at 5:30pm in Bross Gym.