By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Toledo, OH---The No. 7 Express women's basketball team avoided an upset in the SHAC today as they defeated Sinclair Community College 71-68 in OT.
Sinclair started the game strong as they took a 12-6 lead with 15:18 remaining in the first half. The Express then went on a 17-2 run over the next 5:39 to seize their largest lead of the game at 23-14. Sinclair cut the deficit to four at 29-25 with 5:02 remaining, but Owens finished the half strong as Mackenzie Heacock hit a three pointer from the corner with 14 seconds left to give Owens a 36-27 lead at the break.
The second half started much like the first as Sinclair opened with an 11-2 run to tie the game with 17:13 remaining. Both teams battled back-and-forth after that, but the Express took a 64-59 lead with 2:31 remaining. Sinclair battled back, though, as Danielle Forrer hit two free throws at the 1:26 mark and Katie Von Lehmden hit a three with 42 seconds remaining to tie it at 64.
After Emma-Jean Ricketts missed a three for the Express with 26 seconds left, Sinclair called a timeout to set up a play with the game still tied. Forrer was then fouled by Karahn Scott with 13 seconds remaining, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Express rebounded, pushed it up the floor and called a timeout of their own. Following the timeout, Uniqua Mitchell was fouled by Sinclair's India Taste with two seconds left. However, Mitchell also missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the game went to overtime.
The OT opened with Express baskets by Mitchell and Kieona Foster as the Express jumped out to a 68-64 lead. Sinclair would then cut it to a one point deficit before Aja Hall made two free throws at the 1:48 mark to push the lead back to three. Forrer and Hall then each made one of two at the line, and the Express had a 71-68 lead with 16 seconds left. Von Lehmden then missed a three pointer at the buzzer as the Express hung on to keep a firm grip on second place in the OCCAC.
Neither team scored a field goal following the 3:05 mark of the overtime period, which was the last time Sinclair made a field goal. The final field goal for Owens came with 4:25 remaining on Mitchell's basket that gave Owens a four point lead.
Overall, the game featured 10 ties and 13 lead changes. Owens won the battle on the boards with a 60-42 advantage, including an amazing 36-10 advantage on the offensive glass.
Ricketts, Scott, and Danielle Bezeau combined for 20 offensive rebounds for the Express. Bezeau finished the game with 10 rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench, while Scott had 10 points and 11 rebounds overall.
The large offensive rebounding advantage for the Express was aided by a 30.4 shooting percentage. They finished the game 28-for-92 overall from the field, including a 4-for-27 finish at the three point line. Owens was 11-for-17 from the foul line. Their 92 field goal attempts was five short of tying a school record.
Sinclair would finish 22-for-52 from the field overall and 7-for-17 from three point range. They made 17 of 26 from the foul line. The Tartan Pride turned the ball over 11 more times than Owens, and the Express had 15 steals compared to only two for Sinclair.
Additionally, Owens dominated points in the paint with a 42-22 advantage. They also held advantages in points off turnovers (26-17), second chance points (20-16) and bench points (19-5).
Hall, a sophomore, led the Express with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal. She now has 944 career points and passed Leslie Mugg (942 points, 1993-95) for third place on the career scoring list. Next up is her former Express teammate, Jasmine Blanton (2009-11), who had 961 career points.
Foster was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, while adding five rebounds, five assists, seven steals and one block. Mitchell finished with 12 points, six rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist. She fouled out in overtime.
Von Lehmden led Sinclair with 23 points, five rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. She, along with Forrer, played the entire 45 minutes. Brandi McDaniel added 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Hailee Ritinger added 10 rebounds and four blocks.
With the win, the Express now sit at 23-4 overall and 8-1 in the OCCAC, while Sinclair falls to 13-8 overall and 4-3 in the OCCAC. The next action for the Express will be Saturday in the SHAC against Lakeland Community College beginning at 5:30 p.m. It is the final regular season home game for Owens.
Notes: At halftime of the women's game, the OCCAC honored the legacy of former Owens director of athletics, Michael Rickard, who passed away unexpectedly in December 2010, by officially renaming the Athletic Director of the Year award after Rickard and presenting the first award to the members of his family.