February 9, 2013

Big Red drops heartbreaker to Allegheny

After 40 minutes, 10 lead changes and 14 tie-game situations, the Allegheny Gators edged out a 63-62 victory over Denison on Saturday in Granville.

All square at 49-49 with 11:20 left in regulation, Jessica Mrdjenovich and Daryl Ford each knocked down a jumper to give the Gators a four-point edge, their largest of the half.

Now trailing 55-51, DU senior point guard Serafina Nuzzo knocked down a triple off an assist from sophomore Candise Love.  Still down one with 6:11 to go, junior Gretchen Staubach grabbed an offensive board and converted the put back to regain the lead, 56-55.  Two minutes later, sophomore Mary Margaret Habel extended the advantage with a layup off an assist from senior Kyli Parker.

On the ensuing possession, Allegheny's Rachel Vigliotti drained a 3-pointerto tie the game at 58-58.  DU retook the lead on its next trip down the floor thanks to a jumper by Nuzzo.  At the 2:41 mark, Emma Pellicano cut the Gator deficit in half after splitting a pair at the foul line.

With just 30 ticks left on the clock, Allegheny tied the game for the 14th time when Vigliotti knocked down her first of two free throws.  The second attempt also fell giving the visiting team a 61-60 advantage.

As time ran down, Nuzzo cut down the left side of the lane and appeared to have the go-ahead bucket.  However, a traveling call by the referee negated the score and forced the Big Red to foul.  With 11.5 seconds on the clock, Vigliotti knocked down both free throw attempts, extending the lead to three.

On the offensive end of the court, Denison looked for the game-tying 3-point attempt, but couldn't get separation from the suffocating Gator defense.  With 0.9 seconds, Vigliotti fouled Parker before she could attempt a shot from behind the arc.  Parker made both attempts as Allegheny held on for a 63-62 victory.

The opening half was a see-saw battle from whistle to whistle.  The Gators built up an eight-point lead following a Marina Scarantino jumper with 7:47 left in the half.  However, a 9-1 run by DU tied the game at 25-25. With 1:21 on the clock, senior Kinsey Bryant-Lees drained jumper that put the Big Red in front 35-30, but a five-point spurt by AC tied the contest at the break.

Despite shooting 52 percent in the opening period, the Big Red finishing the game with a 37 percent clip from the field.  Allegheny shot 39 percent from the floor, including a 46-percent clip from beyond the arc.  Both teams scored 28 points in the paint, while DU held a 42-39 edge on the glass.

Staubach finished with a double-double after scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Nuzzo chipped in 14 points in 35 minutes of action.  Habel added 11 points and six boards, while Parker logged 10 tallies and four assists off the bench.

Vigliotti led all scorers with 19 points in 33 minutes.  Ford finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Kendall Hoffman added 10 tallies.

Both teams move to 13-10 overall and 8-6 in the North Coast Athletic Conference.  Denison returns to the court on Wednesday when they travel to Oberlin for a 6 p.m. tip-off.