PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/7/2016 – The La Salle Explorers stormed back from a 7 point deficit with two and a half minutes left in overtime, then capped the comeback with a game-winning three-pointer by sophomore guard Adreana Miller with a half second on the clock to come away with a 58 – 56 win over the University of Pennsylvania at the Palestra. It was the second late rally for La Salle as they erased another seven-point Penn lead and got a game-tying bucket from junior guard Amy Griffin with 3 seconds to play.
“We kept believing,” said La Salle Coach Jeff Williams. “I don’t know how we won it. I am happy to get a win, and our kids are getting better. They are starting to believe.”
“We had a lot of opportunities to quit, but they kept pushing.”
What the game lacked in artistry, it was more than made up with it in thrills.
Penn took a 45 – 38 lead with 4:19 to play in the fourth quarter on a basket by senior center Sydney Stipanovich. La Salle answered with a 7 – 0 run as Griffin, who scored a team-high 22 points, tied the game with just over a half minute left. The Quakers got the lead on a layup by junior forward Michelle Nwokedi with 15.4 seconds on the clock. Griffin would send it to an extra five minutes.
Again, Penn would storm out to a 55 – 48 lead in overtime as Nwokedi led the charge with 7 of her game-high 24 points. Miller answered with 7 straight points, 18 for the game, including the game winning trey that came off a Penn turnover. Griffin got the assist on the basket.
La Salle got off to a fast start taking an 18 – 11 lead after one quarter. Dry spells for the Explorers proved to be a problem. In the second quarter they were held scoreless for a 6:03 stretched that allowed Penn to go on a 12 – 0 and get control of the game. La Salle had a 9:17 span in which they scored no field goals. In the third quarter the Explorers had one basket and 5 points. Penn started the quarter with three buckets from beyond the arc. Still they could not put La Salle away and that proved to be their undoing.
“We went for long periods without scoring or executing,” said Penn Coach Mike McLaughlin. “We allowed them to come back little by little. We had control of the game and the same thing happened in overtime. We go up seven and don’t close. We left it on the table.”
La Salle outscored Penn 18 – 7 on the fourth quarter. They were able to withstand 77 field goal attempts by the Red and Blue as only 21 went in.
Senior guard Jasmine Alston scored 4 points, but added a team-best 10 assists and pulled down 9 rebounds.
Nwokedi pulled down 9 rebounds and had 3 blocks for the Red and Blue shooting 10 of 24 in the game.
“I am at my best getting the ball close to the basket,” said Nwokedi. “Now, I need to work on finishing with contact.”
The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the Red and Blue. Penn is 3 – 4 on the season and 0 – 2 in the city series. The Quakers travel to Richmond on Saturday.
La Salle (5 – 4, 1 – 1 Big Five) has two straight wins. They got a conference win at Dayton and now a Big Five win, both on the road. The Explorers host Fairfield on Saturday.
“It was an ugly win, but we will take it over a good team any day,” Williams said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian