Granville, Ohio – After playing 40 minutes of regulation and two overtime sessions, the Wittenberg University women's basketball team dropped a heartbreaking 78-76 decision at NCAC-rival Denison on Saturday after Big Red junior post Lauren Longbrake converted a putback layup with 0.9 seconds left to give DU the two-point win over the Tigers. Wittenberg now stands at 10-8 overall on the season and remains in a fight for one of the coveted top-four spots in the NCAC standings with a 5-4 mark in league play.
Denison appeared heading for victory in regulation, leading 60-57 with 24 seconds left, by Wittenberg sophomore Delaney Williams knocked down a clutch three with 5 seconds left to even the score at 60-60 and send the game into the first overtime session.
With Denison leading 65-61 in the first OT period, Williams once again went to work to bring the Tigers back into the contest, first knocking down a three with 2:38 showing on the clock to pull within one at 65-64, before hitting another three with just over one minute left in the OT period to give the Tigers a 69-68 lead. The Big Red did tie the game up on a free throw attempt with 51 seconds left and a last-second heave by Williams came up just short to send the game into the second overtime period.
The Tigers opened the second OT period strong, leading 74-70 with 2:57 on the clock after back-to-back buckets from sophomore Kristie Kalis; however, DU sank a pair of three pointers down the stretch to retake the lead at 76-74 with 45 seconds left in the second overtime session. Junior Korynne Berner evened the score at 76-76 with a pair of free throws with 15 seconds left, but Longbrake ended DU's next possession with the putback layup with 0.9 seconds left to give the Big Red the narrow victory over the Tigers.
After trailing by five at the break, 28-23, Wittenberg did outscore Denison by a 19-13 margin in the third quarter to hold a narrow 42-41 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation. The two squads then battled back-and-fourth over the course of the fourth quarter, with Williams finally sending the game into extra time with her three ball at the end of regulation.
By The Numbers
Three players scored in double figures for the Tigers on the day, led by Kalis pouring in 19 after shooting 7-of-14 from the field, 2-of-5 from long distance and 3-of-4 at the free throw line. Williams finished just one point behind with 18, but she also provided production in other areas, dishing out three assists and leading the team with eight total rebounds. Berner came off the bench for the Tigers and contributed 10 points in 28 total minutes after connecting on 4-of-5 attempts from the field. DU had four players score in double figures on the day, led by Zyah Beal coming off the bench with 20 points.
The game was evenly played throughout between the two teams as Wittenberg shot 47 percent (30-of-64) from the field and Denison knocked down 46 percent (30-of-66) of their shots from the field. Denison also held a slight edge over the Tigers in both rebounds, 36-35, and assists, 24-22, while the Tigers held the advantage in points of turnovers, 22-12, and points in the paint, 38-36.
Wittenberg will be tested again on Wednesday evening as the Ohio Tigers welcome the league-leading and 17th-ranked DePauw Tigers for a 7:00 p.m. contest inside Pam Evans Smith Arena.