Women’s Hoops Sends the Raven Faithful Home Happy with Thrilling Overtime Victory

Paris Wilkey (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)
Paris Wilkey (Photo Courtesy of Luke Tracy)

This Franklin Pierce University women's basketball recap is presented by Belletetes

RINDGE, N.H. (January 30, 2019) – Sophomore guard Sophia Holmes (Oakland, Maine) and freshman forward Izzy Lipinski (Farmington, Conn.) manufactured double-double efforts apiece as the Franklin Pierce University women's basketball team pulled off a stunning 69-63 overtime victory against Northeast-10 Conference opponent the University of New Haven Wednesday evening during Blizzard Night at The Fieldhouse. With the win, the Ravens move to 4-14, 2-11 NE10 while the Chargers stumble to 13-8, 6-7 NE10.

Franklin Pierce's defensive unit shut down the New Haven offensive attack in overtime. The Ravens held the Chargers to only two points during the extra five minutes and forced their opponent to shoot 0-of-9 from the hardwood. Their nine shot attempts were buoyed by four offensive boards as the Raves attempted only four shot attempts in the free period.

The league win was also FPU's second of the campaign. Over the past two seasons, the Crimson and Grey have only combined to win two conference contests.

Holmes led all players with a game-high 19 points, her 11th consecutive double-digit point performance to go along with a game and career-best 10 rebounds for her first ever double-double. Lipinski produced her fourth double-double of her freshman season with 12 markers and 10 caroms. She also chipped in four assists, a personal and game-high five steals, and one block while going 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the floor.

Classmates Lisa Sulejmani (Burlington, Vt.) and Paris Wilkey (Lynn, Mass.) chipped in 11 and 10 points respectively. Sulejmani, the reigning NE10 Rookie of the Week dished out a game and career-high seven dimes, snared three rebounds, blocked one shot and added one theft. Wilkey played some big minutes off the pine going 4-of-7 (57.1%) from the hardwood including two three-pointers in 16 minutes of play. Sophomore forward Freya Cooney (Woodbridge, England) finished the duel with eight points, eight rebounds and a career-high six blocks.

For the Chargers senior guard, Alexandria Kerr totaled 18 points, five rebounds, three steals and one assist. The Ravens outshot their counterparts from the field and from beyond the arc while they also outrebounded UNH. FPU showed the willingness to make the extra pass by racking up 19 assists on their 25 field goal conversions.

Trailing 20-12 after the first quarter, a Luzdali Ocasio layup expanded the Charger advantage to a game-high 10 points, 22-12 with 8:04 left before the break. Pierce slowly chipped away at the lead, but the Charger edge held steady 25-16 when Camryn DeBose split free throws at the 3:46 mark. FPU concluded the half on a 11-2 spurt which began when sophomore guard Demi Akins (Cambridge, Mass.) buried a three-pointer. Wilkey made it a two-possession game, 27-23 when she floated an attempt through the twine. Lipinski struck twice with under a minute to go as she cleaned up a missed Holmes trifecta and put the rock in the cage. She then got her hand in the pass lane, poked the ball away from Kerr and went the other way for the halftime tying bucket.

In the third, a Lipinski fast break deuce and two Sulejmani treys, one from the left wing and one on the right corner upped the Pierce scoring binge to 19-4 and gave them a contest-high six point lead, 35-29. Kerr and her squad responded going on an 8-2 mini run of their own to even the margin 37 all when Kerr backed her defender down in the post, put a shot up and in while being fouled, however, there was a free throw line violation that wiped out the potential hoop and harm. Wilkey regained the two possession advantage for FPU with another three-point bomb until Ocasio stole the ball away from Cooney and passed the ball to a streaking Micah Wormack for the fast break two making the score 42-39 after three quarters.

Both teams traded points and possessions through the opening minutes of the fourth period as the margin alternated between a one possession and two-possession game. With 4:19 to play, Sulejmani used a filthy crossover move and sank a step back jumper on the left baseline by the corner to expand the Raven lead to six, 53-47. Kerr and Wilkey swapped jumpers and Holmes drained two at the stripe to keep the Raven advantage at six, 57-51 with 1:34 to go. New Haven wouldn't go away as eight consecutive points, a DeBose trey, a Sydney Richard three and a Kerr layup put the Chargers on the brink of a comeback victory, 59-57 with 18 seconds left.

Holmes threw in what looked to be the game-winner with six seconds to go on the right wing to push Pierce ahead 60-59. On the ensuing Charger possession, Cooney put her body on the line and took a charge on the right block when Brie Pergola tired to drive through traffic. Sulejmani was fouled with 0.7 left on the clock as she went to the line for two freebies. The freshman missed the first free attempt and made the second to give the Ravens a 61-59 lead. New Haven took a 30-second timeout and then Kim Talley inbounded the ball to Wormack who lofted a one handed up and under layup on the left block that kissed off the window and went in to send the game into overtime.

26 seconds into overtime, Lipinski slashed through the lane for a bucket. Cooney swatted away DeBose's attempt which led to another Lipinski lay-in off a Sulejmani feed 30 seconds later on the other end of the court to up the Raven advantage to 65-41. Cooney and Sulejmani stuffed one shot attempt each on the next two guest possessions to keep their squad in the driver's seat with 2:48 left. Kerr drained two free throws making it a two point 65-63 game at the 1:40 mark. Following a Raven missed field goal, Kerr missed a layup of her own and the board was gobbled up by Katia Oge who went to the line when Lipinski fouled out. Oge could of deadlocked the game, but she clanked both attempts off the rim to keep the guests ahead with 51 ticks left. Holmes went 4-for-4 down the stretch at the line to ice the game for the Crimson and Grey.

The Ravens remain at home on Saturday as they wrap up their out of division conference slate against American International College at 1:30 p.m.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://www.fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens ), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce women's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://www.fpuravens.com/store). You can also follow the women's basketball team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FPURavensWBB) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/franklin_pierce_wbb/).