Amherst, N.Y. - Julie Williams knocked down a huge three-pointer with 10.1 seconds left on the clock to put her team ahead of hosts Daemen College in an East Coast Conference showdown Wednesday afternoon en route to a 64-63 victory against the Wildcats. The Bears improve to 7-5 overall this season with a 2-3 mark in league action as the home team falls to 3-6 and 1-3 against ECC opponents.
Three starters for NYIT reached double-figures with Shanice Allen leading the way with 20, behind 5-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Margaret Knollmeyer notched another double-double in the win with 12 points and rebounds while Williams finished with 11 points, including the game-winning three-pointer. Leading all players in the contest was Daemen guard Sarah Saba, who dropped 28 points, which included an 11-for-12 performance from the free throw line.
Offensive struggles in first half from Daemen College allowed the Blue and gold to hold a 30-21 advantage over the hosts at the half. The Wildcats shot 1-for-14 from three-point range, collecting 13 consecutive misses from beyond the arc. In the first frame, the visitors rattled off nine unanswered points to jump out to an 11-5 lead. Strong defense from NYIT held the home team to just three points over the last five minutes, while the Bears were able to stretch their lead to 10.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the second quarter, however the Bears were held from scoring until a layup from Knollmeyer at 6:48. All of Allen's points in the second came from behind the arc, helping NYIT keep the home team at bay with a nine-point lead at the conclusion of the first half.
Tables quickly turned in the third as the home team capitalized on poor shooting and five turnovers from NYIT as they outscored their opponent 25-8. The Wildcats made all nine free throws and shot fifty percent from the field to turn around a 10-point deficit into a 10-point advantage, their largest of the contest. Heading into the last ten minutes of action, eight points separated the teams but an exchange of threes brought the visitors within five.
After the halfway mark in the last quarter the Blue and Gold rattled off a 10-4 run with contributions from Williams, Knollmeyer, Sofia Georgiadi and Kesi Goree that made it a two-point contest with the Wildcats still on top. With under a minute to play Williams went one-for-two at the charity stripe, tying the game but another strike from Saba put the ball back in their court.
A timeout from Head Coach Kenny Parham allowed NYIT to regain focus and set up the perfect play - a pass from Nina Vukosavljevic to Williams - which they executed with 10 seconds remaining as they took a one-point lead. A smart foul at the other end of the court interrupted Wildcat momentum, but sent no one to the line as it was just the fourth team foul for the Bears. A missed jumper from the hosts concluded the quarter and the game, sending the Blue and Gold home from western New York with the victory.
Up next on the docket for NYIT is a road game at Saint Anselm on Saturday, December 31 to cap off 2016.
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