SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford Athletics/WSPA) – The Wofford women’s basketball team played its first overtime game in five years and edged ETSU, 79-78.
What was a stressful game for both teams, Wofford pulled out the final basket to remain unbeaten in Southern Conference play. Wofford remains perfect in the SoCon, now at 3-0 (7-3 overall), and ETSU drops to 0-3 in conference play (2-8 overall).
The Terriers got off to a fast start with Niyah Lutz making an early layup and Jackie Carman hitting a 3-pointer within the first minute. ETSU came back with pressure and a 12-2 run made Wofford call a timeout. MaryMartha Turner and Annabelle Schultz took over for the team after the timeout. Turner had six points to go along with Schultz’s four, and Helen Matthews capped off the opening quarter with a jumper for a 20-19 score in favor of ETSU.
The Buccaneers continued their full-court press to start the 2nd quarter and it paid off. A few turnovers from Wofford resulted in easy layups for ETSU, but Lutz kept the deficit to five after a triple from Carman. The Terriers played around with different lineups to try and get some offense going as Jamari McDavid found herself for a layup, and Carman swished a three to end the half, still trailing by eight.
Continuing from Carman’s three, Wofford had a 7-0 run into the start of the 3rd with Lutz and McDavid sharing the points. Carman made another trey to keep the game close, but ETSU stretched it out to nine with a couple minutes left in the quarter. Lawren Cook made her only bucket of the game, but it was a crucial one, a jumper from the paint to give the team momentum into the 4th quarter.
The momentum certainly shifted as Wofford went on a 7-0 run to start the 4th quarter, forcing the Bucs to call a timeout. Alexis Tomlin tied the game later with a spinning layup, then took the lead with a 12-footer just outside the paint. The Terriers had a lead as large as four after McDavid made a pair of free-throws, but ETSU clawed their way back into it. Lilly Hatton had the final shot to win the game, but it bounced off the front of the rim as we headed into overtime.
McDavid got the overtime started with an “and-one” from driving the lane. Matthews then added one free-throw for a slim margin, but ETSU came back and had a 68-65 advantage with under a minute to go. Down to 30 seconds, Hatton lofted a high-arcing three that found its way through the net to level the score. The Bucs had one final opportunity, but Hatton came flying across the court and denied any chance with a sensational block at the horn.
The 2nd overtime began and this time it was ETSU who got out in front early. Wofford came back though with McDavid making another pair from the line, and then drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Hatton and Lutz gave Wofford four more, but once again ETSU found themselves with the lead late. With the clock winding down under 25 seconds, Hatton received a pass from Alea Harris, made a slight move around her defender, and nailed the shot for the lead. ETSU had a final shot, but it got all rim and the Terriers came away with the win, staying undefeated in the SoCon.
Niyah Lutz led the team with 20 points, tying a career-high. Jackie Carman had 17, a season-high for her, while Jamari McDavid recorded the only double-double of the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Alea Harris had a game-high five assists and the Terriers shot well from the free-throw line again at 77.3%.
“I give all the credit to ETSU, they played much better than us, but somehow we came away with the win. There was a lot of heart from us today…a ton of it”, said coach Jimmy Garrity. “We just kept fighting and there wasn’t really a lead for them [ETSU] that we couldn’t overcome. I’m proud of how we competed today. A lot of lessons to be learned from this, but we’re going to celebrate this one tonight and get ready for Western [Carolina] next week.”
Wofford will travel to Western Carolina for a two-game road trip on Thursday, January 21 (6:00 pm tip), and Saturday, January 23 for a 2:00 pm tipoff.