Bridgewater, MA- Through fifteen minutes of play on Saturday, the MCLA Women's Basketball team hadn't made a field goal at Bridgewater. The Trailblazers found themselves down 23-9 at halftime and 42-31 after three quarters. MCLA, however, battled back against the Bears and ultimately sent the game into overtime before eventually falling to the Bears 73-71 in double overtime in a thrilling regular season finale for both teams.
The Bears (11-14, 6-6 MASCAC) secure the fourth seed in next week's MASCAC championships while the Trailblazers (9-15, 3-9) will be the sixth seed and travel to third seeded Worcester State on Tuesday.
MCLA's start was ugly. They went 0-9 with 8 turnovers in the opening quarter and just 1-18 in the first half (5%) as they dug a deep hole. The Trailblazers however came out with a different attitude in the second half led by Emily Moulton and Kayla Hotaling.
The duo would combine for 37 second half points to lead the team back into the contest, however while MCLA was finally scoring, so were the Bears. BSU held a 42-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter before the Trailblazers finally closed the gap.
MCLA started the quarter on a 11-3 run to close within three at just 45-42. BSU responded by jumping back out to a seven point lead at 49-42, but MCLA wouldn't go away. With the score at 50-45 with just 1:29 left, MCLA would outscore BSU 7-2 to force overtime. Hotaling scored the final four points to pull even and send the game into overtime.
In the first OT, Courtney McLaughlin gave MCLA their first lead on the opening possession, but BSU's Sara DaSilva answered tying it back up. BSU led after Chelsea Saucier's triple with three minutes to go, but both teams kept battling and when McLaughlin connected with 1:12 left from deep, MCLA led 61-59. Jennie Lindland answered for the Bears tying it at 61, but it gave MCLA a chance to win it.
McLaughlin missed a runner and BSU's Rhiana Page was fouled with 6 seconds left. She calmly drained both FT's giving the Bears a 63-61 lead. MCLA, without a timeout, would throw a long pass to Hotaling and she would dribble into the lane and pull up for a jumper with 0.7 on the clock sending the game to a second OT.
In the second OT, BSU never trailed as they scored the first two baskets to move ahead 67-63. MCLA would trim the deficit to just a point at 69-68 after Hotaling converted and was fouled. She missed the free throw however, and MCLA had to foul to get the ball back. BSU's Page made two again pushing the lead to three points with 35 seconds left.
MCLA would try to tie it when McLaughlin launched a three, but it was off the mark and BSU grabbed the rebound. Chelsey Saucier would convert two more FT's making it 73-68 and MCLA would get a late three from Courtney Pingelski, but it was too late giving the Bears the win.
Page led the Bears with a team high 17 point night including a 7-9 showing from the charity stripe. Saucier ended with 12 points while Jennie Lindland added 10 points for the Bears. BSU shot 39% in the win and overcame 18 turnovers.
Hotaling ended with 23 points and 6 rebounds. She scored 21 points after halftime to lead the comeback. Emily Moulton was outstanding in the second half. She played just two minutes in the opening half due to foul trouble, but ended with a career high 18 points and 9 rebounds. She was 8-15 from the floor. McLaughlin ended with 16 points and 8 rebounds as well.
The Trailblazers overcame the tough start to shoot 39%, including a 27-53 (51%) clip in the second half.