Nov. 12, 2012
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Playing in the program's first overtime game since the 2009-10 season, the LMU women's basketball team came up just short at New Mexico State Monday, dropping a heartbreaking 77-76 decision to the Aggies at the Pan American Center.
Reenergized after a disappointing season-opening effort at UTEP Saturday, the Lions (0-2) held a four-point lead late in regulation and again early in the overtime period, but could not hold on either time.
Trailing 65-61 with 4:19 to play in regulation, the Lions sank six straight free throws before Mackenzie Kerins capped an eight-point run with a steal and fastbreak layup to push LMU ahead, 69-65, at the 2:13 mark.
Hazel Ramirez had a chance to push the lead to seven, but her three-point attempt with 61-seconds remaining rimed out. The Aggies' Stefanie Gilbreath sank a pair of free throws and, following an LMU turnover, Danesia Williamson dropped a running jumper for the game's 11th tie, 69-69 with 29 seconds remaining.
The Lions had one final chance to in regulation, but Alex Cowling's potential game-winner bounced wide forcing overtime.
Back-to-back buckets by Cowling and Kerins put LMU on top, 73-69 just 57 seconds into overtime, but eight straight points by the Aggies over the ensuing four minutes put the home team back in the lead, 77-73. A Ramirez three cut it to a one-possession game and the Aggies left the door open by missing a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining, but a last ditch, half court heave by Kerins fell short as time expired.
Ramirez led a trio of Lions in double figures with 20 points. Cowling tallied her first double-double of the season, finishing with 15 points and 10 boards, while Love doubled her previous career high, finishing with 16 points to go along with seven boards.
The Aggies' Kelsie Rozendaal opened the game with a layup, and Love responded with back-to-back jumpers in the paint to give the Lions an early 4-2 lead. The teams traded buckets in the early going before New Mexico State went in a 6-0 run capped by a Danesia Williamson free throw at 10:26 to make it 21-14 Aggies.
The Lions responded with an 8-0 run of their own on baskets by Cowling, Love, Taylor Anderson and Ramirez, taking a 22-21 lead with 6:07 remaining. More back and forth action led to a 30-30 tie at the 2:34 mark before the Lions closed out the half on another mini run, reeling off seven straight points to carry a 37-30 advantage into the locker room.
LMU led by as many as nine in the second half before the Aggies slowly began chipping away, taking their first lead of the period, 56-55, at the 9:34 mark on a Gilbreath three.
Rozendaal led all scores with 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Williamson chipped in 19 points for New Mexico State while Gilbreath and Jasmine Rutledge added 12 apiece.
The Lions return to Gersten Pavilion for their official home opener, hosting Long Beach State on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. That game tips off a three-game homestand spanning just six days.