Thoroughbreds Win Overtime Battle of Liberty Leaders

By Skidmore Athletics Kelly Donnelly ’18, Angela Botiba ’15, and Amber Holgate ’16 Kelly Donnelly '18, who scored fifteen points / Photo by Bob Ewellscored fifteen points each, leading the Skidmore College women's basketball team to a 67-65 Liberty League overtime win against St. Lawrence University on Tuesday night at the Williamson Sports Center.

It was the first game of the season between the league's top two teams. The Thoroughbreds are 10-2 in league play, and 14-7 overall. The Saints are 12-2 and 17-5. The rematch is scheduled for Feb. 20 in Canton, New York.

Donnelly scored all fifteen of her points in the second half, to earn her fourth double-double of the season with fifteen rebounds, two assists, and two blocks. Botiba had seven rebounds, and Holgate was a perfect 8-8 from the line.

Kara McDuffee led St. Lawrence with twenty-five points, sixteen rebounds, and two assists. Cara Waterson added fourteen points off the bench.

Skidmore outscored St. Lawrence 9-2 over the first four minutes and forty-eight seconds of overtime to open a 67-60 lead. Ella Scheuerell ’16 had a key three-pointer. Botiba scored four points on a basket and a pair of free throws, and Donnelly had a field goal in the run.

With twelve seconds left, the Saints scored the next five points, including a three-pointer by McDuffee with :00.1 left on the clock for the 67-65 final. The Thoroughbreds were 3-4 (75%) from the floor, while the Saints shot went 3-14 (21.4%) in the extra stanza.

The game started out slow, with neither team getting any traction in the first half. The Saints shot 9-33 (27.3%) from the floor, while the Thoroughbreds went 6-23 for 26.1%. There were three lead changes and two ties, with St. Lawrence up 24-20 at the break.

St. Lawrence had its biggest lead of the game, with 27-20, at the eighteen minute and fifty second mark. Skidmore found its range, going on a 19-4 run to go up 39-31. St. Lawrence fought back to retake the lead 56-54 on a Waterson layup, with only two minutes and forty-five seconds to play in regulation. Donnelly cut it to one, 56-55, with a free throw at two minutes and fifteen seconds. McDuffee put the Saints in front by three points, 58-55, with one minute and fifty seconds to play, but Holgate responded with a three to tie it 58-58, with one minute and thirty-eight seconds to play.

Both teams had chances over the final ninety seconds, but defense prevailed and the game went into overtime.

Skidmore's defense held St. Lawrence to just 18.9% from three-point range on 7-37 attempts for the game. St. Lawrence only hit one of ten threes in overtime.

The Thoroughbreds will host Rensselaer on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.

A statement from Skidmore coach Darren Bennett:

"Tonight's win was a big [one] for us in so many ways. It kept us on pace with the top of the pack in the conference for seeding, and it was a team that our players have not beaten during their time here.

"We've lost some games in conference play versus good teams with records not as good as their personnel, and that can wear on you mentally, especially down the stretch. It's good to be back in the confines of home, your fans, your dining hall for meals and your own surroundings to balance yourself for the game.

"St. Lawrence is an athletic team with scorers at every position. They don't play with a true post, but [they] defend well inside, so defending them is difficult and their athleticism makes it tough on the defensive end as well.

"We came out strong in so many ways, but really did not take care of the ball or win 50-50 balls and that almost came back to get us in the end. Statistically this was not our game, but in the end we were able to pull it off.

"We had a big second half from Kelly Donnelly scoring all of her points in that stanza and, our inside was able to get some things done with Angela, Ella. and Migle [Vilunaite]. Our perimeter shooting was not our best asset, but we were able to hit enough key shots and get to the line to get the points we needed to be successful.

"I'm really proud of our captains for keeping us together after the tough weekend road loss, and putting us back in a place we need to be to reach our season goals."

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