Lady owls advance
Morgan Douglas – Sports Editor
A thriller of a game had James Moore Field House rocking this past Saturday as women’s basketball took down the Assumption University Greyhounds in overtime in the first round of the NE10 Conference tournament.
The game was back and forth throughout, but just when it looked like the Owls were going to pull away late in the contest, up 47-37 in the fourth quarter, the Greyhounds came racing back, going on a 13-0 run to take the lead and force the Owls to call timeout and re-group.
“We weren’t really scoring. We couldn’t get the looks that we wanted to,” guard Delaney Connors, a senior, said, “It’s a game of runs in basketball and that was their run and we just had to counter that when we had the opportunity.”
And counter it they did. Out of the timeout, guard Zoe Amalbert, a senior, drilled a clutch three-pointer to tie the score at 50 with just over one minute left in regulation.
Amalbert said: “I just knew that we had to get a good possession and we’ve been running that play a lot recently, so it was called for me if I was open, but it was a kind of read-and-react and I just ended up being open, and I knew I was going to take that shot.”
The Greyhounds retook the lead following a timeout with 31 seconds left. The Owls would need a bucket in order to save their season.
On the ensuing possession, Amalbert found Connors cutting to the basket, who hit the layup with 18 seconds left to tie it up at 52.
The home crowd, which included the lacrosse team as well as Otis the Owl was really into it at this point, hoping their team could force a defensive stop and overtime.
The Owls did just what they needed, getting the stop to force overtime.
The overtime period came up all Owls, specifically Connors, who dominated the five-minute stretch by scoring eight points and finishing with 23 for the game.
She even scored on a layup eerily similar to the one she scored to tie the game at the end of regulation.
“We put that play in a couple days ago, and I knew we just needed that to take us forward and I was just happy to be open both times,” Connors said.
Connors really put the final nail in the Greyhounds’ coffin when she nailed a three-pointer to put the Owls up 61-56 with 39 seconds left, forcing the Greyhounds to call timeout.
Laser-focused as ever, forward Jessica Fressle, a graduate student immediately shouted “Defense!” to her teammates on the bench to make sure they were engaged for the final possessions.
Fressle is the Owls leading scorer and rebounder for the season, as she was in this game and is their vocal leader on the court, constantly communicating with teammates.
“That’s always been my thing. That’s what got me recruited to this level. It’s one of those things that you can’t teach. It’s just something that I do and have always done,” Fressle said, “Usually it’s just positivity. It’s just picking everyone else up and by picking everyone else up, I’m picking myself up.”
Fressle would knock down a free throw to seal the 65-58 win and finished with a game-high 24 points and career-high 20 rebounds, in addition to four steals. Big players show up in big moments.
Connors and her late-game heroics netted 23 points on an efficient nine of 13 shooting.
Amalbert also had a great performance to the tune of a double-double, with 12 points and 10 assists.
“This team is so special, and we just proved that out there.” Connors said. “I’m really excited right now. We’re locked in. We are ready for this.”
The Owls’ next game as of this writing will have been Monday, Feb. 28, against Southern New Hampshire University in the quarterfinals of the NE10 Conference tournament.
“It’s great,” Fressle said. “Game one done. Three more to go. And we’re ready for it.”