Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Saint Francis' Daysianae Hinton goes up for a shot against Indiana Wesleyan's Anne Secrest during the first quarter at the Hutzell Athletic Center on Wednesday night.
Thursday, December 06, 2018 1:00 am
Ind. Wesleyan 100 Saint Francis 99
Cougars fall in triple-OT epic
USF women come up short to No. 21 IWU
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
During the third overtime between Saint Francis and Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday night, Cougars women's coach Jason Ridge shouted over to his Wesleyan counterpart, Ethan Whaley.
“Ethan,” Ridge said. “Can you guys give up?”
The No. 21 Wildcats didn't oblige and squeaked out a thrilling 100-99 triple-overtime win at the Hutzell Athletic Center behind 28 points and eight rebounds from Nicole Agnasiak and a game-winning 3-pointer from Jene'e Goodwin in the final minute.
Kara Gerka led the Cougars with 20 points.
“That was two of the best teams in our conference going at it,” Ridge said. “That was fun to be a part of.”
Wesleyan led 100-97 late in the game, when Saint Francis center Whitney Will slipped a screen and took a pass from Savannah Buck for a layup that brought the Cougars within one.
Saint Francis got the ball back with 7.5 seconds left still a point behind. The Cougars went to Daysianae Hinton, who lost her dribble going to the hoop. The ball squirted out toward the 3-point line, where Emma Applegate picked it up and tried to drive to the basket, but traveled, sealing the Wildcats' victory.
“(Hinton) made a read, drove middle, just got locked up a little bit,” Ridge said. “Then we just had to make a play. Emma made a great drive to the basket. You want to put pressure on officials to make calls in those situations and the play just didn't go our way.”
The Cougars (7-5, 2-2 Crossroads League) had their best chance to win in the first overtime, when they took an 80-75 lead on a 3-pointer by Gerka. By then, Agnasiak had fouled out and it was unclear where the Wildcats would find their offense.
Margot Woughter provided the spark for the Wildcats (9-4, 4-0), however, hitting a pair of free throws to knot the score at 80 late in the period. Woughter finished with 27 points and made five 3-pointers.
The Cougars had a shot to win it, but Sidney Crowe's left-handed floater bounced off the backboard no good and the game continued.
“(The game) was really exciting,” Gerka said. “It was just really great energy. Everyone gave it all they had. We didn't start out as strongly as we wanted to, but we picked it up in the second half. It was a lot of fun. It would have been hard for either team to lose that one.”
The Cougars trailed most of the game and were behind by as many as 12 in the third quarter. They battled back to tie the game at 69 with 3:29 left in regulation on a Gerka layup from the left side.
“(When we were down 12), we stopped focusing on what we could do X's and O's wise and just focused on a mindset,” Gerka said. “We wanted to take away their posts and run in transition and do what we needed to do to turn it around.”
The game was the fourth straight against a ranked team for the Cougars, who split the contests. Despite the loss Wednesday, Ridge is bullish on his team's chances going forward.
“I think we can be one of the best teams in the country,” the coach said. “Indiana Wesleyan's clearly one of the best teams in the country. ... These games are making us tougher.”
Note: The first overtime was only four minutes due to confusion among the officials about the proper time for the extra periods. The second and third overtimes were correctly set for five minutes.