Women's Basketball News & Highlights
January 15, 2014
Late Heroics Lift Eagles over Cougars
The Eagles controlled the action through the first half and built their advantage to 13 on an Emily McPeak 3-pointer with 6:18 to play in the period. The Cougars closed the gap to 34-28 at the break behind the efforts of senior forward Hannah Seely. Seely scored eleven of her 16 first-half points in the final six minutes.
Emily Lavin had nine points at the break to pace the Eagles. Eastern shot only 36 percent in the first half, but they were able to hold the Cougars to 33 percent and 0-for-8 from behind the arc. Seely made 5-of-8 in the half, and the rest of her squad made only 5-of-22 shots.
The Eagles built the lead back to 10 points at 42-32 on a Dougherty 3-pointer. The Cougars answered with a Shannon Croasdale 3-pointer. The Eagles were unable to increase the lead but still seemed to be in control of the game when Meghan Nowak scored inside to give the home side a 51-42 lead with twelve and a half minutes to play.
The Cougars reeled off 11 straight points to grab their first lead since early in the first half. Croasdale scored five points in the 150-second outburst.
Gina DiDomenico stopped the run with 19-foot jumper. Eastern's junior guard scored nine of her team-best 22 points over the final 10 minutes of action. The Cougars took three leads over that period, and each time it was DiDomenco that answered.
Eastern had a four-point lead and the ball with 1:06 on the clock, but a side-line inbounds play went awry and the Cougars cut the deficit to 66-64 with 53 seconds left. The Cougars had a chance to tie, but Emily Lavin stopped Seely's scoring attempt with her sixth blocked shot of the game. The freshman forward finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks, four assists, and four steals.
Nowak went to the line with 20 seconds to play with a chance to stretch the lead to four, but she split her two attempts to set up the final 15 seconds.
The Cougars had made only 2-of-13 threes in the contest going into the final possessions, and Croasdale had made both of those. The Eastern defense forced the ball away from Croasdale and it wound up in the hands of Sam Baro deep in the corner. Baro, who had missed on eight previous attempts, stuck the contested three, and it looked like the game would be going to overtime.
Out of the timeout, the Eagles advanced the ball to midcourt and called their final timeout with 1.9 seconds on the clock. Dougherty, who was 6-of-24 from the floor for the game to that point, had the ball to inbound. With DiDomenico and Emily McPeak spacing the floor, Lavin and Nowak took spots at the high and low post. Dougherty found Nowak and McPeak set a back screen for Dougherty who sprinted after her pass to the top of the key. Nowak flicked the pass back to her and Dougherty released the game-winner from 24 feet.
"Doc (Dougherty) is good in those situations," head coach Nate Davis said after the game. "If she can just do it, she is going to make shots. There is no time for thinking there and she can't second-guess. It was great to see us execute in the final five seconds."
Davis also added that there was still work to do for his squad who had "execution issues" throughout the game. Despite getting good looks at the basket the Eagles shot only 37 percent from the floor. DiDomenico made 9-of-12 from the floor, and the rest of the squad was 16-of-55 (29 percent).
Dougherty finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Nowak had 14 points and eight boards. Seely finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and five steals for the Cougars (6-7, 2-1 Freedom).
The win keeps Eagles in a first-place tie in the Freedom Conference standings with FDU-Florham. Eastern travels to King's this Saturday before hosting FDU-Florham next Wednesday night.
Updated: Wednesday, 15 January 2014