Triple-OT Thriller Goes to Arizona, 93-88
Career-highs from Young and Goss not enough for LMU
Nov. 15, 2008
Hilo, HI - The Hawai'ian Islands are known for their laid-back vibe but there was nothing but drama Saturday as LMU and Arizona battled into triple overtime on the second day of the 2008 Bank of Hawai'i Invitational Saturday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo, HI. The Lions (1-1) got career-highs from junior Kavita Goss and sophomore Renahy Young but it was not enough as the Wildcats (1-1) made free throws down the stretch for the 93-88 victory.
Goss and Young were the story for the Lions, combining for 25 of LMU's 29 points in the three overtimes. Goss carried the Lions with all 10 points in the second OT, including a dramatic three-pointer, her sixth of the game, with seven seconds left for the last of her 21 points. Young took over the mantle in the third OT, scoring all nine of LMU's points as she finished with 31 points, the ninth-best single-game performance in school history. She finished 10-of-21 from the floor, 2-of-4 from three-point range, and 9-of-12 from the line to become the first Lion to top 30 points since Bryn Britton had 34 against Long Beach State on December 6, 2001.
LMU also got 11 points and five rebounds from senior Cassady Moore while junior Lisa Helmers contributed nine points. With LMU's starting post players in foul trouble, sophomore Maggie Burkett stepped up for a team-high nine rebounds. LMU finished the game shooting 35.4% (29-for-82) from the floor and hit 11 three-pointers, the second-most in a game in school history, going 11-for-28 (39.3%) from beyond the arc. The Lions went 67.9% (19-for-28) from the line. Defensively, LMU forced 28 Wildcat turnovers while committing just 16.
UA put five players in double figures, led by Amina Njonkou's 19 points, of which 16 came after halftime. Njonkou added a game-high 15 rebounds. Beatrice Bofia also had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench. Reiko Thomas scored 13 of her 15 points in the overtime periods, including five in the third OT. Ify Ibekwe finished with 13 points and nine rebounds and was joined in double figures by Fiahza Hill with 11.
Arizona shot 64.7% (11-for-17) from the floor in the overtimes to finish at 50.8% (32-for-63) for the game. The Wildcats were 4-for-14 (28.6%) from three-point range but went 25-for-38 (65.8%) at the line. UA held a 56-41 rebounding advantage.
For the second day in a row, LMU had a single player take charge at the beginning of the game. On Friday, it was sophomore Aleyse Evans, who scored six of the Lions' first eight points. On Saturday, it was Young who stepped up, scoring 13 first-half points. Young hit a spinning layup off a drive, then knocked down a three from the corner and finally pulled up for a jumper in the lane for eight points to stake the Lions to a 13-3 lead six minutes in.
The Lion defense was again the catalyst, holding the Wildcats to one basket over the first nine minutes as UA started the game 1-for-11. Back-to-back three-pointers from Young and Helmers pushed the lead to 22-6 before Hill broke the Wildcat drought with a triple from the corner. Meanwhile, Arizona had no answer for Young, who made her first five shots, the last of which put LMU ahead 24-10 with 8:50 to go.
Foul trouble began to hurt LMU, especially down low as the Wildcats were shooting in the bonus at the 8:30 mark and in the double bonus 45 seconds later. Six of UA's first 14 points came from the free throw line, with the Wildcats asserting their height advantage. UA cut into the Lion lead, getting within six, 30-24 on consecutive baskets by Bofia. But Helmers, who had gone 0-for-7 on Friday, gave the Lions a nine-point cushion on the next possession with her second three-pointer of the half. Goss then came off a screen for a long three and pulled up on the break for a long two to push the Lion lead back into double figures but Bofia scored the Wildcats' final 11 points of the half to cut the gap to 39-31 at the half.
After Helmers opened the second half with a three, Arizona went on a 7-0 run to make it 42-38. The Lions scored only two baskets over the next eight minutes but maintained their advantage through strong defense and rebounding until a straightaway three-pointer from Ashley Frazier tied the game at 51 with 4:24 left and Jhakia McDonald followed with a baseline jumper to give Arizona its first lead of the game.
Two free throws from Young and an up-and-under from sophomore Maggie Burkett put the Lions back on top, 55-54 with 1:53 left. Ibekwe answered back for the Wildcats but two more foul shots from Young gave the lead back to LMU. At the other end, Njonkou grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back with a foul, converting the three-point play with 51 seconds left for a 59-57 Arizona lead.
Following an Arizona timeout, LMU came down and Goss missed a long two. The Lion defense then got the stop it needed, forcing the Wildcats into a shot clock violation with 10 seconds remaining. LMU called timeout and inbounded to Young, who took it the length of the floor and banked in a jumper in the lane with three seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Young converted a three-point play to open the overtime period but Thomas scored four straight points to put the Wildcats back ahead. LMU regained the lead through Moore, who pulled up in the lane for a jumper and then went coast-to-coast on a steal and layup for a 66-65 LMU advantage. The Lions could not convert on their next possession and the Wildcats went back to Ibekwe, who drove the lane for a layup with 47 seconds left. LMU again failed to score and fouled Thomas with 16 seconds left. She hit both ends of the one-and-one to put UA up three but Goss did not hesitate to take the big shot, firing and hitting a deep three with seven seconds left to send the game into a second overtime.
LMU caught a break when Ibekwe picked up her fifth foul on a charge 18 seconds into the second overtime. Still, UA scored the period's first four points, only to see Goss knock down her fifth triple of the game and follow that with a free throw to tie the game. Goss stayed hot, answered Bofia's jumper with yet another three to put LMU ahead 76-75 with 1:47 left. Goss made it three threes in the second OT with another that gave LMU a two-point cushion, 79-77. The Lions got a stop but Njonkou stole the ball from sophomore Jessica Vargas with 26 seconds left and called a timeout. The Wildcats ran the clock down until Thomas took the ball baseline and banked it in with six ticks left. LMU had one more look but Young's three fell short as the teams entered a third overtime.
LMU found itself in unchartered territory, having never before played a triple-overtime game in the program's history. Njonkou remained UA's go-to player, getting loose inside for two layups and a four-point Arizona lead. Young came back with a layup of her own and the Lions got a stop. Young could only go 1-for-3 from the line over the next two minutes as Arizona went back to Bofia for consecutive jumpers and an 87-82 lead. Thomas extended the lead to six with a free throw before Young sank two more free throws to pull the Lions within four but LMU was forced to foul and Thomas made two more. Chasing the game, the Lions ran a play for Goss to get a three and she had an open look but it was short. Still, LMU had a chance. Hill only made one of two from the line and Young went the length of the court for a layup to cut it to 91-86 with 12 seconds left. Again, Hill left the door open by missing both free throws and Young went over the 30-point mark with another layup with two seconds on the clock. LMU set up the press to try to get the steal but Arizona inbounded to Thomas, who made both foul shots with a second left for the final margin.
LMU closes out its island visit on Sunday at 2 p.m. (Pacific) against Toledo.
- GO LIONS -