BETHELHEM, Pa. - Lindsay Adams (Theresa, N.Y.) hit two free throws with one second remaining in overtime to give the New Hampshire Wildcats a 70-69 victory over the Towson Tigers Thursday evening in the first round of the Lehigh Christmas City Classic women's basketball tournament at Stabler Arena.
UNH scored the first eight points of the overtime session thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers by Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine). Towson scored eight of the next ten points, as Jamell Beasley hit two three-pointers and Tierra Jackson nailed a jumper to cut the Wildcat lead to two (68-66).
After a UNH turnover, Tiger senior LaShay Rose hit a three-pointer with 16 seconds left to give Towson a one-point lead. The Tigers pressed the Wildcats, but Adams fought through the pressure, driving all the way to the basket and drawing a foul on Jackson. The fifth-year senior calmly made both free throws, concluding a night in which the Wildcats made all 12 free throw attempts.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 15-8 lead, with Cerniglia hitting two three-pointers and Clark scoring six early points. The Tigers closed out the first half on a 14-4 run, as Beasley hit two three-pointers in the final two minutes to give Towson a 31-27 halftime lead.
The Tigers expanded the lead to nine at 45-36 five minutes into the second half, forcing UNH to take a timeout. After the stoppage, the Wildcats increased the defensive pressure, going on a 12-0 run led by local product Ebony Woods (Philadelphia, Pa.), who excited her friends and family with seven points during the run.
Towson kept hanging in the game, scoring the next five points to take at 50-48 lead halfway through the second half. After two baskets by Clark and one by Ray Williams (Mississauga, Ontario) to give the Wildcats a 54-50 lead, Beasley and Jackson made consecutive jumpers to force another tie at 54-54, then the two teams traded baskets, with each team getting a chance to win the game at the end of regulation.
Clark set a new career high with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 9-of-9 shooting from the charity stripe. She also notched her second career double-double with ten rebounds. Cerniglia scored 11 points, while Woods contributed ten points and four steals.
Williams again made a significant contribution off the bench, scoring eight points and pulling down seven rebounds in 27 minutes of action. Adams finished the game with six points, while Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) added four points, six assists, and three steals to the winning cause.
Beasley led the Tigers with 18 points, with Jackson adding 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Towson (5-4) shot 51.7 percent from the field, including 31.6 percent from the three-point line, but missed three of its four free throw attempts. UNH outrebounded Towson, 34-31, and blocked six Tiger shots, including three blocks from freshman Danielle Flowers (Chalfont, Pa.).
New Hampshire (7-2) advances to the championship game of the Lehigh Christmas City Classic Friday, December 30, at 7:30 p.m. against the host Mountain Hawks. Lehigh cruised past Fairfield, 70-42, in the second game of the opening round doubleheader. The game will be broadcast on Lehigh's athletics website (www.lehighsports.com).