March 11, 2021 –
The Saint Joseph’s Hawks lost in overtime to the Massachusetts Minutemen 79 – 69 in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championships. The final score did not indicate how close this game was throughout. It was a grind it out battle that required an extra five minutes to decide the outcome. The 10th seeded Hawks sent the game into an extra period when guard Katie Jekot hit a long-range three-pointer with 1.4 seconds on the clock.
The game saw 7 ties and 15 lead changes. In the fourth quarter each team was in a possession of one another until Sydney Taylor, who scored a game-high 21 points, hit a wide open three for UMass with just over a minute remaining in regulation giving her team a 64 – 59 lead. The game was far from decided. The resilient Hawks went on a 7 – 2 run to tie the game.
“We do a lot of special situations in practice, we were meant for that moment,” said Saint Joe’s guard Kaliah Henderson. “We have that grit. We have that hard working talent that we always do.”
UMass hit two free throws by Destiney Philoxy with 8.1 seconds on the clock. After a timeout the Hawks got the ball to Jekot who went to the middle, then stepped back for a long-distance three.
“We knew it was going in,” Henderson said. “She’s very clutch especially when you need a shot. She’s going to give it to you.”
Massachusetts owned the overtime period outscoring Saint Joseph’s 13 – 3 to end the game. Saint Joe’s was excited, but UMass seized the momentum back.
“We got ahead of ourselves a little bit,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We were a little too anxious and too riled up. We needed to play with a little more pace, poise, and tempo. We went too fast. Whether it was UMass speeding us up or us trying to win the game in one possession, that’s what it seemed like.”
It was a situation where a stop or a key bucket may have decided the issue. True, but the foul line may have tipped the scales in the direction of #7 UMass.
“The one thing UMass does a really good job of is they get to the foul line,” Griffin said. “That’s something we struggled with all year, trying to be able to score in different ways. They went twenty-five times to our fourteen. They did a good job with that and that was the difference in the fourth quarter.”
The Minutemen were 19 for 25 from the line while the Hawks converted 10 of 14.
Kaliah Henderson led Saint Joseph’s with a career-high 20 points, and she added 10 rebounds to the stat line. Jekot scored 13 points and handed out 5 assists. Alayna Gribble scored 12 points and Alexis Santarelli contributed 11.
For Massachusetts Philoxy scored 17 points and dished 7 assists. Sam Breen pulled down 13 rebounds to go along with 12 points.
UMass advances to the quarterfinals to meet 2nd seeded Fordham.
Written By: Glenn Papazian