Juniata Rallies Late, Defeats Gophers in Overtime

Juniata Rallies Late, Defeats Gophers in Overtime

TOWSON, Md. — Goucher held a 58-50 lead with 2:34 to go in tonight's contest against Juniata, but the Eagles scored the final eight points of regulation and continued their momentum in overtime, sending the shorthanded Gophers to a tough 68-64 defeat at the Decker Sports & Recreation Center.

The loss overshadowed another milestone for Sharnell Huff (Bowie, Md./Bowie), who set a new single-season Goucher record for 3-pointers midway through the second half. The Gophers (6-15, 2-9 Landmark) were swept by Juniata (11-11, 4-7) for a seventh-straight season since joining the conference.

Nothing separated the two squads for a majority of the game, with a total of 12 ties and seven lead changes. The teams were deadlocked at 30 after the first half, and the score was even at 39 when Huff hit her milestone 3-pointer with 12:58 to play. The long ball was her third of the game, and it gave her 56 on the year, passing Jessica Young's previous Goucher high of 55 from the 2000-01 season.

The Gophers would not trail again in regulation after that play. A jump shot from India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg) extended their lead to 55-46 with under five minutes to go, and a pair of free throws from Monique Welch (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) gave Goucher its 58-50 advantage.

Juniata responded with back-to-back 3-pointers. The key play of the game, however, came with 39 seconds remaining. Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) grabbed a defensive rebound after a missed layup from Kate McDonald. The Eagle forward, however, fell to the court after the play and a disputed technical foul was called on Ezeani.

Referees gathered to discuss the decision, but the call stood and Jordan Hileman sank a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.

The foul was also Ezeani's fifth, and the Gophers were forced to play the final three minutes of OT with only five healthy players.

A Paige Dennison made it 64-60, Juniata, with 54 seconds left. Welch made two more free throws to cut the deficit in half, but the Eagles went 4 for 4 from the line down the stretch to close it out.

Huff was one of four Goucher players to score in double-digits, leading the team with 15 points. Perkins added 13, Taje Burston (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Central) had 11 and Welch finished with 10 off the bench.

The Gophers outshot Juniata by a wide margin, hitting a season-high 53.5 percent of their shots compared to only 33.3 percent for the Eagles. Goucher also, though, committed 26 turnovers while Juniata had only 13 giveaways, and that disparity resulted in an extra seven points for the visitors.

Kelsey Livoti led Juniata a game-high 16 points. McDonald chipped in 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Gophers continue their three-game homestand with a 7:15 matchup against Drew on Saturday. The game will be Goucher's annual "Pink Zone" event. Fans are encouraged to wear pink, and there will be several opportunities to donate money to help fight cancer. More information can be found here.