SFU wins in overtime

LORETTO – The Saint Francis women endured a bad offensive day from everyone not named Jessica Kovatch in a loss to Robert Morris a week ago.

On Saturday against Mount St. Mary’s, the Red Flash found themselves needing everyone other than Kovatch for most of the game as the nation’s third leading scorer spent most of the day on the bench due to foul trouble.

SFU responded to the challenge as they got balanced contributions from the entire roster in a thrilling 92-88 overtime win over the Mountaineers in Northeast Conference action.

“I guess I’d say I’m proud of the team for the way we played, but really more happy for them because it was a really, really gutsy performance today … we had a tough day,” Saint Francis coach Joe Haigh said. “… We struggled hitting open three’s, we missed free throws that we normally make, we missed lay-ups we normally make, we had foul trouble, we had different personnel on the floor … I thought it was really a gutsy way to come back and win a game.”

Mount St. Mary’s coach Maria Marchesano was unavailable for comment.

On a day that featured plenty of wildness and even unexpectedness, Saint Francis (10-7 overall and 5-1 NEC) trailed for most of the way before making it a back-and-forth affair late in the third quarter.

In the system that Haigh likes to run, no one on the team averages over 30 minutes a game. However, with Kovatch out, three players logged significantly more than that and it showed up in a big way:

Ace Harrison tallied 16 points, 12 rebounds, four steals, two assists and two blocks in 39 minutes; Caitlyn Kroll registered game-highs of 27 points and five steals in 38 minutes; and Kyasia Duling came up with a career-highs 16 points and three blocks in addition to 13 rebounds in a career-high 33 minutes.

“Another little factor in pulling out a win today is the number of minutes these three (Duling, Harrison and Kroll) played,” Haigh said. “Our rotation is usually deeper and we don’t usually play this many minutes … Obviously, all three of them picked up the slack with Jess (Kovatch) being out most of the game.”

With just 19.3 ticks remaining in regulation, Harrison had a 1-for-2 showing from the foul line to give her team the 78-75 edge. On the ensuing trip down the floor, Mount St. Mary’s Daly Sullivan, who tied a career-high with six of her team’s 14 3-pointers, found herself in the deep right corner but missed as Duling came up with the rebound.

“I’m not used to playing a lot of minutes, so fatigue was a factor, but I think mentally it wasn’t,” Duling said. “… I stopped thinking about being tired. I really didn’t notice how many minutes I was playing or the stats … I just looked at the scoreboard and who was on the court and wanted to win.”

In her haste to outlet the ball, Duling tried to hit Kroll at midcourt but had it stolen by Ashlee White who found Sullivan once again in the deep corner, who launched a shot that somehow banked in with 3.1 showing on the clock to tie the contest.

Kovatch’s halfcourt heave missed to send the game that had 16 lead changes and 13 ties into overtime.

Five lead changes and three ties filled up the overtime as the game appeared ready for another five minutes when the Mountaineers Caroline Hummell, who led Mount St. Mary’s (6-12, 3-4) with 21 points, converted a driving left-handed layup with 1:34 showing to knot the score for the last time at 87-87.

Kovatch, who scored 10 of her 19 points in the overtime period, would respond by burying a 30-foot trey from right in front of her coach with 1:21 left to put the Red Flash up for good 90-87.

Hummell hit the first of two free throws with 1:07 to go to pull the Mount within two. However, the score would remain the same as both teams missed layups, wide-open shots, while combining to go 0-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Kovatch, after securing a big offensive rebound — tying her career-high with eight boards — off a Duling miss was fouled and then sank a pair of foul shots to set the final with 10.8 ticks to go.

MOUNT ST. MARY’S (6-12, 3-4): Hummell 8-12 2-3 21, Sullivan 7-13 0-0 20, Dickson 1-5 4-6 6, Agentowicz 3-7 0-0 8, Lawless 3-9 4-5 10, Birkhead 0-0 0-0 0, Settle 1-3 2-4 4, White 6-16 2-5 17, Rowson 1-5 0-0 2. Totals: 30-70 14-23 88.

SAINT FRANCIS (10-7, 5-1): Duling 7-12 1-4 16, Harrison 7-17 1-4 16, Kroll 10-20 7-9 27, Wynn 2-7 0-2 5, Kovatch 5-10 6-7 19, Swogger 2-7 0-0 5, Morrow 0-6 2-2 2, Mastellone 0-1 0-0 0, Falvey 0-0 0-0 0, Zezza 0-3 0-0 0, Smith 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 34-85 17-28 92.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Mount St. Mary’s 29 12 18 19 10 – 88

Saint Francis 24 13 24 17 14 – 92

3-point field goals: Mount St. Mary’s 14-28 (Sullivan 6-12, Hummell 3-4, White 3-5, Agentowicz 2-5); Saint Francis 7-29 (Kovatch 3-8, Duling 1-1, Wynn 1-4, Harrison 1-5, Swogger 1-5, Kroll 0-1, Mastellone 0-1, Zezza 0-1, Smith 0-1, Morrow 0-2). Rebounds: Mount St. Mary’s 45 (Dickson 8); Saint Francis 53 (Duling 13). Assists: Mount St. Mary’s 14 (Lawless 4); Saint Francis 12 (Kovatch 4). Blocks: Mount St. Mary’s 4 (Agentowicz 2); Saint Francis 8 (Duling 3). Steals: Mount St. Mary’s 11 (White 4); Saint Francis 14 (Kroll 5). Turnovers: Mount St. Mary’s 22; Saint Francis 15. Total fouls: Mount St. Mary’s 25; Saint Francis 21. Fouled out: Lawless, Morrow. Technicals: none.

Officials: Ed Corbett Jr., Lionel Butler, James Ostwalt.

A: 604.

COMMENTS