TOWSON, Md. — Goucher managed to knock an 11-point deficit with under seven minutes left to play this evening down to a single point with more than a minute still showing on the clock, only to have Washington Adventist make four free throws in the final 15 seconds to clinch a 61-56 triumph over the Gophers.
The loss, the first at home this season for head coach Didi Cotton's squad, did nothing, however, to detract from the 29-point, 14-rebound performance by Goucher's Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch). The sophomore center matched her career-high for points with the 16 she tallied in the first half before adding 13 more to her total over the final 20 minutes. In addition, she had never reached double digits in rebounds prior to this evening's contest against the Lady Shock (3-7).
For the game, Ezeani was 13-for-20 from the field; the rest of the team was 10-for-28 (.357).
Five baskets by Ezeani and three free throws by Monique Welch (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) accounted for Goucher's first 13 points against Washington Adventist. It wasn't until India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg) converted a layup with 9:27 remaining in the first half that somebody other than Ezeani was able to hit from the field.
The two teams were separated by only three points with 5:30 remaining in the first half, but a run of nine straight points over a span of three minutes allowed the Lady Shock to open up a 32-20 advantage. The Gophers (3-3) closed to within 34-26, but Ebonie Ellison restored the visiting team's lead to double figures by nailing a 3-point shot 13 seconds ahead of the buzzer ending the opening period.
Washington Adventist maintained a cushion of at least 10 points for the first 11 minutes of the second half until an 8-0 run featuring two baskets by both Ezeani and Welch made the score 52-44. The lead creeped back above 10 points on a layup by Courtney Cayard with 7:51 remaining, but the Gophers held the Lady Shock to one point on a free throw by Nicole Derrickson for a stretch that exceeded seven minutes.
Ezeani's final basket of the contest trimmed Goucher's deficit to 57-56 with 1:39 showing on the clock. The Gophers got a stop on defense, but a costly turnover on the subsequent possesion prevented them from getting off a shot that might have put them ahead.
Two free throws by Derrickson with 15 seconds remaining put the Lady Shock up 59-56. The Gophers went for the tie by putting up a 3-point attempt with :08 left to play, but it wouldn't drop. A pair of free throws by Karis Powell closed out the scoring.
The Gophers conclude a three-game homestand on Saturday when they take on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in a Landmark Conference contest scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.