Immediate Release: March 6, 2004
Contact: David Berman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vermont completes comeback in overtime, tops Bearcats 69-61
Visiting Catamounts rally from 11-point second-half deficit to beat Binghamton
VESTAL, N.Y.--For the second time in four days, a player from a visiting team knocked down a three-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime and prevent the Bearcats from winning in regulation. In contrast to its win over Hartford on Wednesday evening, however, Binghamton (17-9, 12-6 America East) never led in the extra period in today's game and Vermont (14-12, 8-10 AE) completed a dramatic comeback with a 69-61 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Events Center.
The Catamounts trailed by 11 points with 9:20 left in regulation and despite closing the gap to as little as three, still trailed by seven (55-48) with 4:14 remaining. Vermont scored six unanswered points in the next three minutes, and a jumper by senior guard Theresa LaRocque with 1:09 left cut the margin to 55-54. After missed shots by both sides, sophomore guard Rachel Laws (Wyncote, Pa.) sank two free throws with 13 seconds showing to extend the lead to 57-54. Vermont brought the ball down court, and LaRocque fired a three-point attempt with six seconds remaining. That shot missed, but LaRocque seized the rebound and raced back out behind the arc and drilled the game-tying basket with two seconds left. A desperation shot by Binghamton from halfcourt was well short at the buzzer.
Vermont struck first in the overtime period, as junior forward Lani Boardman nailed a three-pointer with 3:39 remaining for a 60-57 lead. Laws made it 60-59 on a layup with 1:51 left, but the Catamounts closed the door after that. Senior forward Aaron Yantzi extended the lead back to three just 17 seconds later, and Binghamton turned the ball over on its next two possessions. Those turnovers led to four straight free throws from LaRocque and a 66-59 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
In a game in which neither team shot higher than 31 percent, Vermont won the game with its advantage from the free throw line. The Catamounts entered the game ranked 10th in the entire nation in team free throw percentage (76.4%), and improved that mark by sinking 30-of-36 (83.3%) attempts from the line. Yantzi and LaRocque led the way, combining to make 19-of-21 of their foul shots.
Laws led Binghamton with 16 points and 11 rebounds, scoring in double figures for the 24th straight game and notching her seventh double-double of the season. In her final home game, senior guard Kate Townley (St. Paul, Minn.) had one of the best efforts of her career, tallying 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds while playing all but the final seconds of the game. The 5-foot-10 point guard reached double figures for the third time this season and the fifth time in her career. Townley, who averages 6.0 points and 6.0 rebounds for the season, has increased those marks to 10.0 points and 9.0 rebounds over her last five games.
The game was also the final home game for seniors Leala Wegwerth (Maplewood, Minn.) and Nicole Dypolt (Calgary, Alberta). The pair each scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds.
LaRocque led Vermont with 21 points, while Yantzi added 18 and seven rebounds. The two combined to score 31 of their 39 points after halftime.
Binghamton led 23-20 at intermission and stretched the lead with a 16-8 run to open the half. Five different players scored for the Bearcats during the run, and a pair of free throws by Townley with 12:17 to play made it a 39-28 margin. The teams then traded baskets until Vermont started to rally in the final nine minutes of the half.
The loss snapped the Bearcats second six-game winning streak of the season, and Binghamton concludes the regular season with a 17-9 mark. The Bearcats will now carry the #2 seed into next week's America East Championship. In quarterfinal action on Thursday, BU will face the winner of a first -round game between #7 seed Northeastern and #10 UMBC. The starting time for the game will be announced at a later time. Stay tuned to updates on the completion of the championship bracket by visiting http://athletics.binghamton.edu.
NOTES: Both teams keyed in on defense in the game, as Vermont shot just 31.5 percent from the field and the Bearcats shot 30.2 percent ... The teams combined for 52 fouls and 75 free throw attempts ... Vermont still remains the only America East team that the Bearcats are winless against ... the Catamounts now lead the all-time series 7-0 ... Binghamton's streak of 10 straight wins in its final home game of the regular season came to an end ... the last loss was also an overtime affair, 72-69 to Potsdam on Feb. 21, 1993 ... the three graduating seniors enjoyed a 75% winning percentage (36-12) at home during their four years ... Laws has recorded back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in her career ... the Bearcats are now 3-2 in overtime games this season ... it is the first time a Binghamton team has played more than three overtime games in a season.
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