Dec. 30, 2012
HONOLULU - Dayeesha Hollins' (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods/Michigan) buzzer-beater as time expired capped the comeback effort that saw the Bearcats erase a 10-point Hawai`i lead with 2:44 to play.
UC's comeback momentarily appeared to fall short at the end of regulation. Trailing 55-54, a lay-up for the Bearcats didn't fall and Hawai'i grabbed the defensive rebounded. Cincinnati's foul on Hawai'i and the final horn seemed to happen simultaneously, sending the officials to review the play.
Following the video replay, .5 seconds were put back on the clock and Vicky Tagalicod was sent to the free throw line for the `Bows. After missing the first attempt, Tagalicod sunk the second free throw.
Needing to go the full length of the court in less than .5 seconds, Alexis Durley (Houston, Texas / Andy Dekaney) heaved the ball from one end line to just past half court where a racing Hollins snuck behind the defense. The junior guard grabbed the ball and layed it up with the horn going off as the ball fell through the hoop. As the UC bench erupted, the officials went to check the video, eventually confirming the need for overtime to decide the contest.
Cincinnati trailed by as many as 14 in the second half, including the 48-38 deficit with just under three minutes to play. Following the media timeout, Kayla Cook (South Webster, Ohio / South Webster) made the first cut into the lead with a pair of free throws. Hawai'i missed a pair of free throws and a jumper on the next two trips down the court allowing Alyesha Lovett's (Newark, N.J. / Malcolm X Shabazz) three-pointer with 1:36 left to cut the lead to 48-43.
A flurry of free throws for both teams accounted for most of the scoring during the next minute. Hollins hit all four of her attempts while Hawai'i went 3-for-4 to trim the lead to four points. Pressuring the in-bound pass, Lovett came up with exactly what teams trying to make a comeback need - a steal. The extra possession eventually led to a pair of free throws from Cook, making it a 51-49 lead for the `Bows.
Hawai'i added two points on their ensuing possession with a jumper from Shawna-Lei Kuehu, giving them a four-point lead with 30 seconds to play. Hollins raced down the court, taking just eight seconds off the clock to hit her second three-pointer of the game.
Hawai'i hit both free throws after UC immediately fouled. Chelsea Jamison (Indianapolis, Ind. / Broad Ripple) drove to the basket for UC's next score with nine seconds left, again making it a one-point lead. The Bearcats defense forced the `Bows to call one timeout attempting to inbound the ball, then forced the turnover on the next attempt, giving UC the ball back with seven seconds. The shot on the extra possession wouldn't fall, setting up Hollins' heroic buzzer-beater.
UC used the momentum from the end of regulation to take a quick four-point advantage in the extra session. However, four consecutive makes from the free throw line knotted the score for the sixth time during the night. Durley's free throw and Lovett's jumper gave Cincinnati a 63-60 lead. Hawai'i answered with a bucket and free throw from Haydel on two different trips down the court. UC was unable to get a shot off on their ensuing possession setting up the `Bows final shot. Monica DeAngelis hit a jumper from the top of the key to account for the game-winner.
The first half was played on relatively even terms with each team making small runs. Hawai'i led by as many as eight points, but UC answered immediately with a three from Hollins and a jumper from Tiffany Turner (Marlton, N.J. / Cherokee). The score stood at 23 all with just under three minutes to play, but the `Bows scored the last two buckets of the half to hold a 27-23 lead at the break.
The final stat sheet featured almost identical box scores for both teams. Hawai'i had a 39-37 edge in rebounding, but the `Bows committed 20 turnovers compared to 17 for UC.
Cincinnati was led in scoring by Hollins, who finished with a game-high 24 points. The total is one shy from her season-high of 25 set against Xavier, also an overtime loss for Bearcats.
Turner and Lovett each finished in double-figures with 10 each. Turner, Dunn, Lovett and Jamison each finished with six rebounds.
Hawai'i was led by DeAngeleis' 21 points that included 4-of-9 shooting from long range.
UC will wrap up tournament action tomorrow with a 2:30 pm (7:30 ET) contest against Long Island-Brooklyn.