Claire Jacobs Put Back Gives La Salle 67 – 66 Victory Over Duquesne
PHILADELPHIA, PA. February 23, 2022 –
There is no more thrilling way to win a game. The La Salle Explorers got a critical victory when Claire Jacobs got to the ball off a miss, tipped it back on the rim, and went in with just .2 (yes, point two seconds) on the clock. La Salle wrests a 67 – 66 win from the Duquesne Dukes in dramatic fashion at the Gola Arena.
Down by one with seven seconds left in regulation, La Salle inbounded the ball in the front court after a layup by Duquesne forward Precious Johnson. Gabby Crawford attempted a three-pointer. It missed but Jacobs rebounded the miss in the center of the lane and put the ball back up on the rim. The ball rolled on the rim, then fell through for the winning points. There was but .1 second on the clock.
“I saw the ball coming to me, and there was not much time to get a shot up either way,” Jacobs said. “It was exciting.”
And a good time to get a rebound, in her opinion.
After a review by the officials, the clock was reset to .2 seconds. The Dukes had one last desperation chance. The ball was thrown towards the rim, but, again, Jacobs made her presence felt by catching the pass as the horn sounded. She had 3 steals in the game.
A Back and Forth Contest
To show the closeness of the game the lead changed on the last seven made baskets or free throws. La Salle got the last lead change. Either Jacobs or Molly Masciantonio got those baskets. For Duquesne Libby Bazelak was involved until the Johnson layup.
The momentum changing play came with just less than 20 seconds remaining. The Dukes held on to a 64 – 63 lead. They had control of the ball until Masciantonio stole the ball from Tess Myers, who immediately fouled Masciantonio. The senior guard went to the line and drained both of the lead changing free throws as 19.9 seconds showed on the clock.
A Critical Play on Defense
“We were going to foul, but I knew when the girl was coming using her left hand, I used my right hand to kick it out,” said Masciantonio. “And it was a good play if I made my foul shots and I did.”
Only two more lead changes were left before the horn sounded and the Explorers celebrated. This game was destined to be decided on the last possession.
The game was close throughout. Each team took a lead, but neither team could hold it. In the game the lead changed 15 times. La Salle erased a 6-point Duquesne lead with over four and a half minutes remaining in regulation. It showed resiliency.
“For both teams,” said La Salle Coach Mountain MacGillivray. “Nobody wanted to give it to the other team. Nobody wanted to give up. It also says a lot about the level of basketball they were playing. The defenses were not giving anything easy. Both teams went out and made basketball plays. I say it all the time. I pride myself on the way we defend, but good offense beats good defense all the time. The offenses were executing a a pretty high level, basketball players making basketball plays.”
Kayla Spruill scored a team-high 17 points. Masciantonio had 13 points and 4 steals. Claire Jacobs had 16 points in the game, 15 of those points came in the fourth quarter. She also had 3 swipes.
“I knew we had to score and I wasn’t scoring well in the first,” said Jacobs. “I knew it would come if I got open shots. Our team was doing well running plays that would get us open shots.”
Libby Bazelak headed the Dukes with a career-high 25 points making 11 of 15 from the floor and 3 of 4 from distance. She handed out 3 assists. Amaya Hamilton contributed 16 points, 2 shy of her collegiate-best. Duquesne drops to 11 – 16, and 6 – 9 in the league.
Standing in the Atlantic 10
La Salle improves to 15 – 11 overall and stands at 8 – 6 in the Atlantic 10. The Explorers are on a three-game winning streak. They have secured the 6th seed in the upcoming league tournament, and are very much alive for the number 5 seed. That does not matter to the team. What does matter is that they are trending in the right direction.
“I think we are playing our best basketball right now,” MacGillivray said. “I think we are in a good spot. The team is supporting each other. They’re together. and that means a lot at this time of year.”
The regular season will end for La Salle on Saturday with a game at George Washington.