NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Junior guard Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) scored a career-high 21 points off the bench, and freshman guard Nicole Bostick (Bridgewater, Mass.) knocked down a pair of free throws with just four seconds left in overtime, to lift the visiting Bridgewater State University women's basketball team to a thrilling 64-63 win over MCLA in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) action on Wednesday night.
The Bears improve to 9-10 on the season and 4-2 in the MASCAC, while the Trailblazers fall to 7-10 overall and 2-4 in conference play. The win marked the 297th career coaching victory for BSU head coach Bridgett Casey.
Bostick was fouled attempting a three pointer and made the first two free throws before missing the third. MCLA did not have a timeout remaining and the Trailblazers' last second heave fell well short.
Whyte, who hit the 20-point mark for the second time in the last three games, knocked down a career-best six three-pointers including three clutch trifectas late in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Senior guard Chelsea Saucier (Portland, Maine) added ten points, eight assists and three steals for the Bears, while senior forward Jennie Lindland (Edgartown, Mass.) notched eight points, eight rebounds (six offensive) and three assists. Bostick chipped in with eight points.
MCLA rallied from a 45-35 deficit after three quarters to force overtime. The Trailblazers would outscore the Bears 20-10 in the fourth quarter behind the efforts of senior guard Courtney McLaughlin (Pittsfield, Mass.). McLaughlin would net eight points in the pivotal period as MCLA opened the quarter on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 45-45 for the first time since the first half.
From there, the lead would change hands nine times and feature a trio of ties. In the final minute of regulation, the Bears led 52-50 following a Whyte three-pointer. MCLA senior forward Kayla Hotaling (Ravena, N.Y.) would connect on an old fashioned three-point play to give the hosts a 53-52 lead with 53 seconds left to play. BSU senior guard Stephanie DeSantis (Walpole, Mass.) would make one of two from the stripe to tie the game and then the Bears got a defensive stop with 18 seconds left to play.
Whyte was fouled and sent to the line with 13 seconds left in regulation and calmly drained a pair of free throws after the Bears struggled all game from the line to make it 55-53. Coming out of a timeout, MCLA senior guard Ashley Clawson (Tolland, Conn.) took the inbound and drove the right lane and connected to tie the score. The Bears had possession at midcourt with seven seconds left but couldn't get a shot off and the game headed to OT.
In the overtime session, MCLA scored the first three points to take a 58-55 lead, but Whyte once again drilled a crucial three-pointer to square it up at 58-58 with 2:45 left to play. A Hotaling free throw with 1:44 remaining gave MCLA a one-point lead, but Whyte once again had the answer. She would drill her sixth triple of the night giving BSU the lead again at 61-59 as the clock ticked under a minute.
McLaughlin was fouled and connected on both attempts to tie it at 61-61 with 35 seconds left. Whyte made 1 of 2 free throws at the other end of the floor with 24 seconds left to put the Bears back on top, 62-61. Hotaling quickly answered for the Trailblazers with a driving layup and also drew a foul but missed the ensuing free throw to stake the hosts to a 63-62 lead with just 11 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
Bostick, who had just entered the game after a BSU timeout, was fouled on a three-point attempt from the wing with four seconds remaining. She made her first two free throws and missed the third. MCLA corralled the rebound and raced down the court, but a deep three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
Ironically, Bostick missed three free throws following a three-shot foul midway through the fourth quarter with the Bears nursing a 45-42 lead.
Both teams did not help themselves at the free throw line. The Bears went 13-for-25 (52%) at the charity stripe, while the Trailblazers finished 16-for-26 (62%). Eight of BSU's 12 missed free throws came in the fourth quarter and overtime, while MCLA missed three free throws in the OT session.
MCLA outrebounded the Bears by a margin of 48-33 with a 17-11 edge on the offensive glass. The Trailblazers also held the advantage in second chance points (13-5) and points in the paint (24-12). Despite turning the ball over 24 times as opposed to 16 miscues for the Bears, MCLA finished with a 19-11 edge in points off turnovers.
McLaughlin posted a double-double with 12 rebounds and a career-high 27 points to pace the hosts. She also recorded four steals. McLaughlin went 10-11 from the line, while the rest of the team was just 6-for--15. Hotaling also recorded a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
In upcoming action, the Trailblazers travel to Worcester State University for a three o'clock MASCAC game with the Lancers. The Bears are off until next Wednesday (Feb. 1) evening when they entertain conference rival Framingham State University at 7:30.