Lions Fall to SAC-Leader Anderson in OvertimeFebruary 2, 2013
ANDERSON, S.C.-- The Mars Hill women's basketball team pushed South Atlantic Conference leader Anderson to overtime, but the Trojans earned the 76-68 OT victory Saturday afternoon at the Abney Center.
Alissa Diaz hit a jumper with five seconds left to force overtime, and the Trojans outscored the Lions 18-10 in the extra stanza to earn the victory. Armeka Booker paced Mars Hill with 21 points and eight rebounds. Diaz paced Anderson with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Mars Hill fell to 4-14 overall and 1-9 in SAC play. Anderson is now 15-5 overall and 9-1 in conference play.
Ansley Ricker added 17 points and five assists for MHC. Autumn Ward reached double-figures for the second time this season with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Kelsey Espinosa pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds and added five points. Mars Hill shot 39.7 percent overall (25-of-63).
Lesley Woods scored 21 points for Anderson and connected on 5-of-10 from long range. Amanda Parris added 12 points. The Trojans connected on 15-of-34 from beyond the arc (44.1 percent) and 27-of-64 overall from the field (42.2 percent).
Diaz's jumper with five seconds left tied the score at 58-apiece and sent the game to overtime. The Trojans scored the first eight points of the extra stanza on a pair of Woods threes and a Diaz jumper. A Kristen Metcalf three and a Booker lay-up pulled the Lions back within 66-63, but Diaz knocked down the last of Anderson's 15 treys on the afternoon to put the Trojans back of six.
A lay-up by Espinosa brought Mars Hill back within four, but Diaz answered again witha jumper to push the Anderson lead to 71-65 with 42 seconds remaining in OT. Metcalf hit another three to pull MHC back within one possession at 71-68 with 34 seconds left, but the Lions were unable to score the rest of the way. AU hit 5-of-6 free throws over the final 20 seconds to clinch the victory.
Anderson came out of the gate shooting lights-out from long-range, as the Trojans hit three treys to help build an 11-6 lead with 14:45 to play in the first half. Parris knocked down all three AU connections from distance during the opening run.
The Lions had an answer however, as an 18-4 surge over the next 6:19 opened up a nine-point lead for MHC. Ward jump-started the run with a three, and Ricker capped a 7-0 spurt with a jumper in the paint to give the Lions their first lead of the game at 13-11. After a Diaz jumper tied the score, Ward knocked down another three to give MHC a lead it would not relinquish in the half.
A Trojan bucket cut the Lion lead to one, but Mars Hill scored the next eight points on an old-fashioned three-point play by Espinosa, a Metcalf three and a jumper by Cadence Wilmoth to push the score to 24:15 with 8:26 to play in the half. The Mars Hill lead would stay between two and nine the rest of the half, as the Lions took a 37-32 lead into the break.
An 11-0 run from the 1:26 mark of the first half to the 17:36 mark of the second half gave the Trojans the lead. Threes by Tilda Ahlin, Diaz and Woods sparked the run. A Wilmoth free throw momentarily stopped the AU run and tied the score at 38-38 with 15:20 to play, but the Trojans continued their surge with an 11-2 run to make the score 49-40 with 11:54 to play.
MHC responded with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two. A layup by Booker started the run, before five straight points by Ricker cut the score to 49-47 with 10:37 to play. That run was part of a 12-4 surge that brought the Lions within 53-52 after an Erica Warren free throw with 5:43 remaining in the contest. The Lions took a 58-56 lead after Ricker split a pair of free throws, setting the stage for Diaz's game-tying jumper and overtime.
Mars Hill will travel to Lincoln Memorial for a 6:00 p.m. tip-off against the Railsplitters this Wednesday, Feb. 6.