Cougars Come Up Short In 95-90 OT Loss

Cougars Come Up Short In 95-90 OT Loss

Worcester, Mass. – In one of the most entertaining games in recent memory, visiting Smith College ended the contest on a 9-0 run after coughing up a 24-point second half lead to take a thrilling 95-90 overtime win over Clark University in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Thursday evening.

The win for the Pioneers extends their school-record winning streak to ten games as they now sit at 12-1 overall and remain undefeated in conference action at 7-0.

Clark, meanwhile, drops their second straight league contest and sees their record dip to 8-6 overall and 3-4 in league matchups.

After shooting 60 percent in the first half, Smith built a 49-37 halftime lead and then saw it increase quickly to 62-42 following a Devon Quattrocchi (Brewster, N.Y.) three-pointer with less than three minutes gone by in the second half.

The Pioneer advantage hovered around 20 points for the next six minutes and reached its peak at 75-51 after Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H.) dropped in a leftside corner three with 11:02 remaining.

The Cougars then embarked on 14-2 spurt over the next three plus minutes highlighted by a three-pointer from Esther Cohn (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and two triples from Brooke Brennan (Weston, Mass.).

Smith still held what seemed to be a comfortable lead at 77-65 with a little less than six minutes remaining and back-to-back hoops from Sydney Parkmond (Waterbury, Conn.) pushed the Pioneer advantage back to 16.

Clark then went on another run – this one a 19-3 spree in which they held Smith to one basket over the final five-plus minutes.

Cohn was instrumental in the run, scoring seven of her career-high ten points, while Brennan and Megan Grondin (Cumberland, Maine) also contributed key baskets.

After Brennan connected on her sixth three-pointer of the game to make the score 81-76 with 2:17 left, Paulina Solis (Santa Ana, Calif.) answered with a triple of her own to give Smith an eight point lead with less than two minutes left.

The Cougars then got a corner jumper from Grondin and a pair of blocks on the defensive end from Cohn that led to a Grondin finish on the break and an 84-80 score with 44 second left.

Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) forced a turnover and the Cougars got the ball back which led to Grondin making a pair of free throws that made it a one possession game.

Clark turned up the defense and forced a difficult three-pointer from Solis that Cohn was able to block and the ball bounced off of Solis' leg, giving the Cougars the ball with 15 seconds to play.

Condon took the inbounds pass and dribbled to the right block where she was double-teamed with time winding down. She was able to slip a pass in between the two defenders and find an uncovered Cohn who dropped in the game-tying hoop as the buzzer sounded forcing overtime.

A little more than 30 seconds into overtime and a Condon layup gave the Cougars their first lead in exactly 40 minutes of game action at 86-84. Their lead reached four on two occasions in the extra session – once on a strong Grondin finish and once moments later on a pair of Emily Reilly (Marlboro, Mass.) free throws with 2:26 remaining.

Those two free throws, however, proved to be the Cougars' final two points as Solis scored four quick points to knot the game at 90-90 with a little more than a minute left.

Then after a Solis steal on Clark's next trip down the court, Amanda Zakoske (Jacksonville, Fla.) found Quattrocchi for a leftside three pointer that gave the Pioneers the lead for good.

Clark missed its final three shots in the extra session and Quattrocchi put the game out of reach with her two free throws with 21 seconds to go.

After their hot shooting first 20 minutes, Smith shot 32 percent in the second half and 29 percent in overtime to finish at 41 percent, but they connected on 12 of 25 three-point attempts.

The Pioneers won the battle on the boards, holding a 58-39 advantage which led to a 17-7 edge in second chance points.

Aided by Smith's season-high 23 turnovers, Clark held a 34-16 difference in points off of turnovers. The Pioneers passed the ball extremely well, totaling 24 assists on their 30 made baskets.

The Scarlet and White meanwhile shot 46 percent from the field for the game and had season-bests in assists (24), steals (14) and three-pointers made (10).

On a night when several players played exceptionally well, Solis proved to be the best player on the court. She finished with 32 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals in 35 minutes with connecting on six three-pointers. Her 32 points were the fourth-highest total in single game in school history.

In addition to Solis, Parkmond recorded her first double-double of the season with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while Drummond racked up a double-double of her own with 20 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out.

Quattrocchi played a game-high 43 minutes and posted 14 points, eight assists and three steals.

For Clark, Cohn added 11 rebounds and four blocks to her ten points to record her first career double-double.

Grondin was extremely efficient, notching a career-best 25 points on 9-for-12 shooting to go along with five boards, while Brennan hit six of her 12 three-point attempts and finished with a career-high 22 points.

Condon totaled 14 points, nine assists, four rebounds and five steals, while Reilly also stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Smith will put its winning streak on the line on Saturday when they visit 22nd ranked Babson at 2:00 p.m.

The Cougars, who scored 90 points for the first time since a 91-39 win over Anna Maria to open the 2003-04 season, will entertain Wheaton on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.