By RJ Walters / Daily News Sports Editor
An exclusive Walters ‘n Words blog post
So apparently the Chargers women’s basketball team is still susceptible to letdowns, but they also apparently have enough players to make just enough plays to save their own behinds.
I don’t think beating 7-seed Lake Superior State at home in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament had to be a miraculous come-from-behind win , where the Chargers scored 15 of the final 16 points to pull out a 62-60 thriller, but it was and surprisingly it was freshman Chelsea Harrison taking over in the final minutes, not All Miss Universe, Katie Cezat. Harrison had 14 clutch points, including a 3-for-6 effort from beyond the arc and she was not afraid to dribble and drive with the game on the line, a la little frosh Tyler Gerber on the men’s side. Between Harrison and Brooke Knight things worked out — just barely. But what I didn’t like was seeing Cezat a bit frazzled, to the point she threw up several airballs and how things almost combusted at one point. Senior Katie Eckinger got taken to task a few times on the defensive end and was so frustrated at one point about someone apparently missing their help-side defense assignment that she screamed at Cezat and chucked an inbound pass to her senior teammate with the velocity of a fastball. Needless to say, fans didn’t see a whole lot of Eckinger down the stretch.
It was interesting and entertaining and made predicting the next few weeks in Chargerland even harder than before.
Here’s a game recap from the Hillsdale College Web site, via S.I.D. Brad Monastiere.
The last home women’s basketball game of the 2008-09 will go down in history as one of the most dramatic in Hillsdale College history.
The Chargers, ranked sixth in the nation, scored 15 of the game’s last 16 points to win a miraculous game, 62-60, over Lake Superior State University Tuesday night. Hillsdale is now 25-3 on the season and advances to Friday night’s GLIAC Tournament semifinal game against Grand Valley State at Michigan Tech at 7 p.m.
With 4:01 left in the second half, the Lakers led 59-47 and seemed to be in position to pull off the upset. But the huge home crowd, and inspired defensive play by the Chargers, got the momentum swinging in the home team’s favor, setting up a finish that none of the more than 1,000 people in attendance will soon forget.
Hillsdale did not allow LSSU a field goal in the game’s final four minutes, and forced turnovers on three straight Laker possessions as the Chargers mounted their comeback.
The comeback started innocently enough for Hillsdale, with Claire Aubrey, Brooke Knight and Chelsea Harrison going a combined 5-for-6 from the free throw line to cut the score to 59-52. Harrison then stole the subsequent inbounds pass and converted a layup, driving the crowd into a bigger frenzy, and making it a five-point game with 2:41 remaining.
Senior forward Katie Cezat shook loose from the tough LSSU defense to put in a layup making the score 59-56 with 2:12 left. Nine seconds later, Harrison picked up another steal and made another layup three seconds later, turning it into a one-point game.
With the home crowd stirred like rarely ever seen on the Chargers’ home court, the Laker guards struggled to bring the ball up the court against Hillsdale’s pressure defense. Led by Aubrey and Harrison, Hillsdale’s defense extended the Lakers and made them work extra hard to get the ball into the front-court during this sequence.
After three consecutive offensive rebounds by the Chargers, Knight banked in a shot to give Hillsdale its first lead of the night, 60-59, with 42 seconds left.
Cezat, the nation’s leading rebounder, grabbed perhaps her most important board of the season with 15 seconds left, forcing LSSU to foul her. She converted the two free throws to put Hillsdale up by three with 12 seconds left.
Lake Superior State’s Jaclyn Armstrong dribbled around looking for a shot, and was fouled by Cezat, with :00.1 seconds left. She made the first free throw, but the intentional miss on the second shot could not lift the Lakers.
LSSU led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but a 7-0 Charger run cut the lead down before halftime.
Cezat finished the game with 17 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Harrison was clutch at both ends of the court all night, and had 14 points with three 3-point field goals made. Aubrey was 5-for-9 shooting from the floor and had 11 points. Aubrey helped keep the team afloat through a tough first half with her outside shooting.