Assistant Sports Editor
Despite 24 points and 16 rebounds from sophomore forward Jaimie Bickelhaupt, the Springfield College women’s basketball team fell to the Coast Guard Academy 55-54 in triple overtime Wednesday night at Blake Arena. With the loss, the Pride fell to 3-18 (1-14) on the season. However, the Bears improved to 8-12 (6-9).
Although a total of 55 minutes were played in the evening’s game, it boiled down to just a tenth of a second to determine the night’s winner. A Meghan Fornaro three-pointer with 1:40 remaining in the third overtime period gave the Bears a 55-54 lead heading into the final minutes of the game.
With just 10 seconds left on the clock, freshman point guard Jessie Klauer dribbled the ball down the court and through the Coast Guard defense, making a charge at the rim for the final basket. After getting knocked over by a wall of the Bears’ defense under the rim, the ball squeaked out to senior Briana Freymuth, who was fouled as she put up a last second desperation shot. With just one-tenth of a second on the clock, No. 23 stood at the line with the game on her shoulders.
Without hesitation, Freymuth put the first shot up. The ball clanked off the left side of the rim and bounced away from the basket. With the game-tying shot on the line, Freymuth collected the pass from the referee and took a deep breath. The 5-foot-9-inch product out of Bolton, Conn. put up her second attempt, only to see the ball rim out, signaling a victory for the Bears.
“I think both teams played so hard,” commented Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck following the victory. “It wasn’t the prettiest game. The shots just weren’t falling, but both teams played so hard and it was an exciting game. We did not have a good first half, we came out flat and with low energy. The second half I felt we were playing with more heart and hustle.”
Following the opening basket of the game from sophomore guard Andrea Moschetta, Springfield took the lead and did not give it up until the first overtime period. Kicking off the first 10 minutes of the game with a 16-4 run, the Pride looked to have a grasp on the game in the early goings. Led by junior forward Tamara Tribble with six points in the first half, the Pride took a 23-13 lead into halftime.
Two minutes into the second half, Bickelhaupt scored the half’s first basket, giving Springfield a 25-13 edge. These were just two of the sophomore’s 11 points in the second half. Although down 30-15 at one point, the Bears never gave up, chipping away at the Pride lead to bring the score to within three points with 5:47 remaining in the game.
“It started on the defensive end,” said Ivansheck of her team’s comeback. “We are not one of those teams that has a very high shooting percentage, so we have to get stops. We have to get stops to cue our offense, which is what we have tried to do all year.”
Following a Bickelhaupt lay-in with 1:24 remaining in regulation to give the Pride a 41-39 lead, the two sides went back and forth, resulting in an easy bucket for Coast Guard junior guard Kaitlin Ward, who tied the game at 41-41 with 49 seconds remaining. Neither team was able to get any more shots up as the two teams settled for extra time.
After playing a back and forth first overtime, the two sides went into a second overtime tied at 45-45. Early in the second overtime period, Bickelhaupt, a sophomore out of Brookfield, Conn. netted a lay-up and added a long two-pointer to put the Pride up 49-45. Just as the Bears had done all game, they fought back, tying the game at 52-52, sending the game into a third overtime.
“Jaimie did a nice job of stepping up big, with a couple of big possessions at the end,” said Graves of her forward’s game. “I thought she had a huge put-back that put the game into an overtime. I left the kids out on the floor because there was tremendous chemistry out there. They were working together and they were fighting together.
The Pride will continue action this Saturday when they travel to Campbridge, Mass. to take on NEWMAC foe MIT at 1 p.m.