The Women’s Basketball team came within inches of edging the Bridgewater State Bears on Jan. 25, but fell short 64 to 63 in overtime. Despite outscoring the opposition 20 to 10 in the fourth quarter, a Trailblazer last-minute foul lead to Bridgewater State’s Nicole Bostick going two for three and securing the win.
The three-point line proved to be the Achilles heel for the Blazers, not just with the late foul, but throughout the contest. Bridgewater netted 11 threes to our 5 and sank a higher percentage of their shots from there compared to MCLA (34.4 percent to 27.8 percent, respectively).
With this decision, MCLA moves to 7-10 on the season and 2-4 in the MASCAC, while Bridgewater rises to 9-10, 4-2 in those respective categories.
Here’s how it happened:
The atmosphere grew in intensity as the Blazers staged a comeback from the third into the final quarter. Down 33 to 45, the Blazers went on to score 12 points unanswered to tie the contest at 45. The game descended into trench warfare as the fourth quarter edged onward. The Bears would score and the Blazers would match them. Neither team gained more than a two point lead the entire time.
With the Men’s Basketball teams of both schools joining the crowd, the entire gym seemed to become more and more invested in the game. Down by two, MCLA restarted play with 13.3 seconds left remaining on the clock. With the hopes of the school on her shoulders, Ashley Clawson tore through the Bridgewater defense and willed the ball into the net to knot the game at 55 with just 7.1 seconds left. A strong defensive show by the Blazers forced the game into overtime.
The crowd moved uneasily in their seats as the buzzer went off to bring play back to the court once more. The first minute and a half looked similar to a chess game–each team trying the defense of the other, looking for some weak point to exploit. MCLA found the edge first and earned a three point lead. This hard fought edge was lost with the sinking of a three by Bridgewater. Tied once more the crowd became anxious and loud. It seemed as though the Bears could only either foul a Blazer or sink a three, and the score slowly edged higher with MCLA free-throws and Bridgewater three-pointers.
The Blazers had a tenuous lead 63-62 with 10.6 remaining in overtime but a late foul stunned the whole crowd and the Bears went a perfect two for two on the free-throw line. With 4.4 seconds left the MCLA women’s basketball team rushed up the side to try for one last desperate attempt, but all for not.
Senior Courtney McLaughlin went off for a career high 27 points, ten of which came from the free throw line in this heartbreaking loss. She proved to be nearly flawless when Bridgewater fouled her making 90 percent of her shots from the free-throw line. With this one in the books, McLaughlin has 68 points in her last four games.
Senior Kayla Hotaling returned to the court after missing the previous game and led the team in rebounds (13) and managed 19 points in her 36 minutes of playing time. Hotaling has 57 points in her last four dating back to the victory over Salem State on Jan. 11.