Alex Lennon and Allison Hostetter each recorded a double-double as the West Chester University women’s basketball team avenged their worst loss of the season in a thrilling 74-68 overtime win over arch-rival Millersville at Hollinger Field House Saturday afternoon.
The Golden Rams’ (19-5, 10-2 PSAC East) biggest asset in the game, though, turned out to be their bench, as the Marauders (19-5, 9-3 PSAC East) saw four of their five starters play over 40 minutes in the contest. The fatigue factor was arguably a key reason why the Marauders missed all six of their field goal attempts in overtime.
Millersville’s bench saw a grand total of 15 minutes of action out of 225; by contrast, Ambreelinne Ortman scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes for West Chester.
“Ambreelinne came up big when Mary Kate [Serratelli] was struggling,” West Chester head coach Deirdre Kane said after the game. “I think our depth helped us there.”
After Lennon scored the Rams’ first five points of the game, Sophia Waters hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 5-5, triggering an 11-0 run to give the Marauders a 13-5 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half. Unlike the previous meeting between these two schools – an 81-59 blowout at Pucillo Gymnasium on January 22 – eight points would be the largest lead the Marauders would take in the entire game.
A pair of threes from Ortman and Dominique Adams cut the Millersville lead to one – 15-14 with 10:50 left – however, Waters – who finished with 20 points – hit one of her four three pointers to maintain Millersville’s lead.
“Mosley sucked us in,” Hostetter said. “That’s why Styles was so good.”
Mosley had entered the game averaging nearly 25 points and 15 rebounds in her last six games.
The Rams kept the score close in the remainder of the first half, however the Marauders went into the locker room at halftime with a 31-26 lead.
The first few minutes of the second half looked to be more of the same for the Rams. After Hostetter started the half off with a layup, Domonique Stroman hit a pair of foul shots and a jumper to make it 35-28 Millersville.
Serratelli hit a three to cut the Marauder lead to four – 35-31 – with 16:42 left in regulation. After each team traded turnovers, Mashira Newman was called for traveling. Newman bounced the ball in disgust after the call and was hit with a technical foul with 15:55 left.
Jill Keefer hit both foul shots after the media timeout, and, after Jill Beswick missed a three, Lennon, who finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, hit a layup to tie the game at 35-35. Hostetter (13 points, 12 rebounds) added a pair of layups to give the Rams a 39-35 lead with 14:24 left in regulation. Another three by Serratelli (13 points) capped 16-2 run to give West Chester a 44-37 lead with 13:07 left.
“We’re a good second half team,” Hostetter said. “We just came out, played our game, and it turned out good for us.”
“We didn’t have to be perfect,” Lennon added. “We just had to be a little better than them.”
The Marauders, however, weren’t going away easily. Despite tying the game three more times in the final 10 minutes of regulation, Millersville wasn’t able to re-take the lead.
After Waters tied the game at 51-51 with 8:43 left in regulation, Keefer sank a three to make it 54-51 West Chester. The Rams would extend the lead to 60-54 after Serratelli hit her third three pointer of the game with 4:53 left in regulation.
Waters hit a three with 2:54 left to make it 64-63 West Chester. After Lennon missed a layup, Seratelli was called for her fourth foul while Waters attempted a three with 2:20 left in regulation. Waters would miss the first two foul shots, but hit the third to tie the game at 64-64.
The two teams exchanged foul shots – Megan Stewart hit two for the Rams, while Aurielle Mosley – who led all scorers with 24 points while adding 12 rebounds – hit a pair for the Marauders to make it 66-66 in the closing second of regulation.
With five seconds left, however, Gabrielle Styles rejected a Hostetter shot to force overtime. It was one of four blocks for Styles, and seven for the Marauders.
Newman hit a pair of foul shots to give the Marauders a 68-66 lead early in the overtime. From there, the wheels fell off for Millersville in dramatic fashion.
A pair of layups by Lennon and a jumper in the paint by Hostetter gave the Rams an insurmountable 72-68 lead entering the final minute of overtime. The Marauders went cold in the extra session, missing all six of their field goal attempts.
“It shows the toughness of our team,” Lennon said. “We came back and did what we had to do.
Stewart added 10 points and 7 assists for West Chester, who shot 26-for-65 (40 percent) from the field, while holding Millersville to 23-for-64 (35.9 percent) shooting from the field.
Stroman added 14 points and 8 rebounds for Millersville, but turned the ball over 10 times. Newman finished with only 5 points, but nearly registered a double-double with 9 steals and 8 assists.
The Rams edged the Marauders in rebounding (46-45), but turned the ball over three more times (32-29).
West Chester travels to Cope Hall Wednesday night to face a Cheyney team that has struggled since starting the season 4-4. The Wolves are 2-10 in PSAC East play, however, the Rams are not looking past their cross-town rivals in advance of Saturday’s showdown at Hollinger with Bloomsburg.
“Teams like [Cheyney], they’re all scary teams.” Hostetter said. “They have nothing to lose.”
“As long as we continue to play our game, we’ll do well,” Lennon added.
NOTES: West Chester’s win over Millersville was the third time that the Golden Rams have defeated a ranked opponent in their last four games. West Chester defeated then-#23 Millersville 83-77 in double overtime at Pucillo on March 3, 2010 in the first round of the PSAC Tournament, defeated then-#8 Holy Family at Hollinger 74-69 on December 4, 2010, and beat then-#22 Gannon at the Hammermill Center in Erie January 4 71-66. In the January 22 loss at Pucillo, Millersville was ranked #23 at the time. … West Chester holds the second seed in the PSAC East entering Wednesday’s game at Cheyney, one game behind Bloomsburg. The Huskies face East Stroudsburg at Koehler Field House Wednesday night. A Bloomsburg win clinches the top seed in the East for the Huskies. An upset by the Warriors, however, coupled with a Rams win at Cheyney, would make Saturday’s game a showdown for the top seed in the East. An East Stroudsburg win is highly unlikely, though, as the Huskies blew out the Warriors 99-61 at Nelson Field House on February 3. … Millersville’s loss was the first time all season the Marauders had lost a game after leading at halftime. … The Marauders are 8-5 this season when they have been outshot by their opponents. … Millersville leads the all-time series with West Chester 42-31. The Marauders are the only PSAC East opponent against whom the Golden Rams have an all-time losing record. The Rams are 19-22 all time against Shippensburg, however, the Red Raiders have only competed in the PSAC East since the 2008-2009 season; West Chester has won all six meetings with the Raiders since the switched divisions.
Creighton Rabs covers West Chester University athletics for glowbass.com. He is neither affiliated with nor employed by West Chester University. Feedback can be emailed to email@example.com; live updates of select WCU events will be available on Twitter at @WCUExaminer.