Women’s Basketball Outlasted in Overtime, Falls Short to Pace, 63-58

Andy Beardsley

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – The University of New Haven women’s basketball team nearly handed Pace University its first loss of the campaign on Saturday evening, but instead dropped a heartbreaking defeat in overtime by the final score of 63-58 at Charger Gymnasium. With the loss, the Chargers dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-4 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Setters remained unbeaten, improving to 8-0 and 5-0 in the league.

Early on in the opening stanza, both teams struggled to find themselves offensively, combining for six turnovers and just three field goals in the first seven minutes. New Haven controlled mere 9-8 lead after an acrobatic basket from Yasmin Ithier-Vicenty with 9:20 showing on the clock, but turnovers began to plague the Chargers offense. The Setters responded with an 11-3 run over the next five minutes, granting Pace a 19-12 advantage.

UNH finally turned it around, completing the last four minutes of the frame with a 9-2 run. Jill Baranger capped off the surge with a lay-up in the waning seconds, leaving a 21-21 tie score at halftime. Dominique Stellmacher led the way for the Chargers, recording eight points and six rebounds. Nicole Pollard added five points and Ithier-Vicenty chimed in with four points and two boards.

After the break, the Chargers picked up right where they left off in the first half, racing out to a 12-4 run through five minutes of play in the second half. Lauren Boivin sparked the rally with two free-throws, while Anh-Dao Tran and Stellmacher each added two buckets during the stretch. UNH controlled a 33-25 advantage with 15 minutes remaining in the game.

However, Pace responded with a 14-1 run over the next 10 minutes, erasing its deficit and regaining the lead. Kristin Connolly ignited the surge with a three-point shot from the wing, followed by two lay-ups from Carol Johnson for a 39-34 Pace advantage.

After a Pace free-throw, Olivia DeMarco brought the Chargers offense back to life with a 9-0 run. DeMarco accounted for all nine points, hitting three baskets in the paint and three free-throws for a 44-40 Charger lead.

With 2:09 remaining in the game, the Setters knocked down back-to-back buckets to tie the score. The deadlock was short-lived however, as Audrey Cunningham connected on a three-pointer as the shot clock expired for a 47-44 Charger advantage.

On its ensuing possession, Pace hit a pair of free-throws from the charity stripe, leaving a one point lead for the hosting Chargers. The two teams came up empty on their next two possessions, as UNH pulled down a defensive rebound with 38 seconds left. Forced to foul, Pace sent Tran to the free-throw line who knocked down one-of-two for a 48-46 lead.

On their next possession, the Setters drew a foul underneath, as Brittany Shields calmly sank both attempts to tie the score up at 48-48. The Chargers failed to score on their final attempt sending the two squads to overtime.

In the extra frame, Pace quickly grasped control of the game with three buckets in the first two minutes. Brittany Huggins added to their lead with a three-point play, granting the Setters a commanding 58-51 advantage.

The Chargers chipped away cutting into their deficit, but Pace knocked down too many free-throws to overcome the Setters’ lead. Pace escaped with a 63-58 win on the road.

Despite leaving the game with an injury midway through the second half, Stellmacher led the Chargers with 13 points and nine rebounds. DeMarco was also stellar on the offensive end, pouring in 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and hauling in eight rebounds. Tran chimed in with 10 points, all in the second half, and seven assists, while Boivin pulled down nine rebounds in the losing effort.

Defensively, the Chargers held the Setters to 33 percent from the floor and 22 percent from behind the arc. However, UNH turned the ball over 20 times and only connected on 33 percent of its field goals.

The Chargers return to action on Tuesday, December 7 when they travel to Adelphi University. The game will tip off at 5:30 p.m. in Garden City, N.Y. Live statistics, live audio and live video will be available at www.NewHavenChargers.com.