By Greg Carey
CLARKSBURG — Trinity used an 11-0 run over a span of 1:58 in overtime to overcome a six-point deficit and prevail with a 52-50 victory at Notre Dame on Wednesday night.
“I’m extremely proud of this team for picking up a resilient road win,” Warriors coach Mike Baldy said. “It’s always a close game when we play Notre Dame and to see us fall behind in overtime after losing a late 3-point lead in regulation, it’s a rewarding feeling to pull this one out.”
Trailing 47-41 after two Amelia Angotti free throws with 2:24 to play, the Warriors (8-3) began their decisive rally with two Reagan Sharp free throws and pulled even at the 1:36 mark following consecutive layups by Rachel Rosen and Sharp.
Sharp’s transition layup and Paige Dixon’s layup, both of which came off Irish turnovers, enabled Trinity to take a four-point lead, before Jaclyn Smith added to it by making 1-of-2 free throws with 26 seconds remaining.
Although Taylor Martino answered by making all three of her free-throw attempts with nine seconds left, the Irish (8-3) were unable to foul as Sharp put on a dribbling exhibition to run the clock out.
Notre Dame coach Bob Martino thought his team’s lack of depth proved costly down the stretch after the Irish played only six players.
“We got tired and it’s like the old Vince Lombardi saying goes — fatigue makes cowards of us all,” coach Martino said. “They picked up their energy down the stretch and had an extra gear that we didn’t.”
Notre Dame faced a 3-point deficit late in regulation, but pulled even on Emilee Henderson’s 3-pointer off the wing with 28 seconds left. Henderson then had a chance to give the Irish a late lead but missed two free throws with 14 seconds remaining, before Sharp’s runner was off the mark at the buzzer.
The Irish got off to a strong start in overtime, using a 3 by Martino and Bailee Yokum’s basket from close range to hold a 45-40 lead. But ND never made another field goal down the stretch.
“Notre Dame is comfortable shooting from the perimeter and last year when we played here they made 18 3s,” Baldy said. “We wanted to mix up defenses and we used a 1-2-2, 2-2-1 mix, but with about two minutes left in overtime Reagan and I agreed we should go to a full court man to man, and they never scored again besides free throws.”
Martino, who led all players with 29 points, made three of her six field goals in the opening quarter and scored nine points to help the Irish hold a 15-8 lead.
A corner 3 from Smith and Dixon’s leaner enabled Trinity to knot the game at 15, but Martino scored the final five points of the opening half to send ND into the break with a 20-15 lead.
After making only 7-of-27 first half field goals and getting out-rebounded 25-18, the Warriors started the second half on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game on Sharp’s layup with 6:04 left in the third quarter.
The Irish reeled off 10 of the next 14 points, however, and took a four-point lead on Martino’s conventional three-point play, before Sharp made a pull-up jumper to send Trinity into the fourth quarter trailing 30-28.
Facing a 35-34 deficit, Notre Dame regained the lead on Emma McKeen’s bucket with 2:12 to play, but a Leighton Croft 3 in response put Trinity up 38-36 with 1:50 left.
McKeen then split two free throws, while Rosen made a pair at the line with 58 seconds left, setting the stage for Henderson’s triple that tied it.
“We did a great job getting it to overtime, but it’s also hard to get over the missed free throws,” coach Martino said. “But we did — and then we stopped coming to the ball and couldn’t get it up the court.”
Martino connected on 14-of-15 free throws in her game-high scoring effort, while McKeen contributed eight points and eight rebounds. Henderson added seven points and seven boards.
After going scoreless in the first half, Sharp led Trinity with 13 points, while Dixon and Croft scored 10 apiece. Sharp also contributed a game-high five assists and Croft led the Warriors with eight rebounds.
Trinity finished with a 40-39 rebounding edge and forced 24 turnovers as the Warriors evened their regular season series with the Irish.