Panthers end season with heartbreaking double overtime loss to Southwestern

Ashton Spurgin
Ashton Spurgin

Day One Quarterfinals Recap

HOMEWOOD, Ala.In the quarterfinals of the 2012 SCAC Women's Basketball Championship today at Homewood High School, Southwestern University had to survive two overtime periods and needed a runner in the lane by first-year forward Madison Eschle with 1.7 seconds remaining to earn a hard-fought 96-95 decision over Birmingham-Southern College.

The game represented the first double overtime game in the 10-year history of the SCAC women's basketball tournament and the combined 191 points are the most scored in a single tournament game.

The top seed out of the SCAC West, Southwestern (15-11) advances to play the winner of Millsaps and Trinity tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. CT, in the second women's semifinal at Bill Battle Coliseum. Birmingham-Southern ends its season at 14-12.

In a game with 11 lead changes and eight ties, Birmingham-Southern appeared to have the upper hand at the end of regulation and during the first overtime period. A free throw by junior forward Alex Adams gave Birmingham-Southern a 74-68 lead with 1:44 remaining in regulation. Southwestern, however, scored the next six points - capped by a game-tying 3-pointer by sophomore forward Chelsea Leader with 46 seconds remaining that ultimately forced overtime.

In the first extra period, Birmingham-Southern took control early, scoring the first eight points and capped by a three-pointer by Kristian Moody gave the Panthers a seven point the 81-74 with 2:37 remaining. Birmingham still led by six with 1:57 left, but a layup by Eschle, two free throws from first-year forward Jordan Owens and a steal and layup by Leader knotted the score at 83-83 with 24 seconds remaining.

Adams put back on her own miss with 12 seconds remaining to give Birmingham the 85-83 lead, but junior guard Katelyn Bartell's jumper at the elbow with five seconds left in overtime sent the game into a second extra period.

Southwestern led througout the second overtime, but Birmingham's Caroline King sank two pressure-packed free throws with 13 seconds remaining to give the Panthers their first lead of the second extra period, 95-94.

After a BSC timeout, Southwestern worked for the final shot and Eschle's runner in the lane with 1.7 tickes remaining gave the Pirates the 96-95 win.

The heroes were aplenty on both sides. Senior guard Anna Fareed hit big shot after big shot for the Pirates and led the way with a game-high 28 points. Owens followed with 25 and Leader finished with 24.

Adams led the way for Birmingham-Southern with 25 points and King followed with a double-double of 23 points and 14 rebounds. Senior forward Ashton Spurgin also posted a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Birmingham-Southern outrebounded Southwestern 56-41, but Southwestern had 10 more points off turnovers, 22-12.

Both teams shot above their season averages as Southwestern hit on 44.6 percent (33-74) of its attempts from the floor while Birmingham was successful on 42.3 percent (33-78) of its attempts.

Southwestern made one more free throw (23 to 22) on two more attempts (32 to 30).