Beverly, Mass. 12/7/10 – Scoring seven of her game-high 21 points in the extra period, Keene State College junior guard Sara Laudano (North Haven, Conn.) led the Owls to a 64-59 overtime victory over Endicott College in non-conference women's basketball action inside MacDonald Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
The Gulls trailed by as many as 12 points in the second-half before mounting a 16-2 run to take the lead with less than two minutes to play. The Owls had an opportunity to win the game in regulation but missed a pair of layups in the final five seconds.
"We let up on defense a little bit in the second half and that's when they made their run," said Laudano. "Down the stretch we executed when we needed too and it feels good to come home with the win."
Courtney Cirillo (Windsor Locks, Conn.) added a double-double for KSC with 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore Siobhan Carnell (Quincy, Mass.), who fouled out in regulation, finished the game as the only other Owl in double figures with 10 points.
Senior center Ashley Vitale (Wilmington, Mass.) paced Endicott offensively with 19 points. Classmates Brittany Kelleher (Wakefield, Mass.) and Ashley Wright (Merrimack, N.H.) added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Keene State jumped out to an early lead and held Endicott scoreless for the first 7:50 of the opening half. The Owls led 13-0 before Vitale hit a jumper inside the paint with 12:10 remaining.
Cirillo nailed a three-pointer four minutes later to give Keene State a 20-4 lead, it's largest of the game. Laudano buried a triple from well beyond the arc in the closing seconds of the half to hand the visitors a 28-18 lead at the break.
Both teams traded baskets in the early stages of the second-half. A mid-range jumper from Carnell put the Owls on top, 47-35, with just under nine minutes to play in regulation.
Endicott responded with a 16-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 51-49, with 1:37 remaining.
Laudano countered with a jumper on the other end to level the game at 51. "In the second-half I was coming off some screens and getting some open looks from behind the arc," said Laudano. "At the end of the game they were pressing me harder and this allowed me to get open and take some pull up jumpers."
Endicott failed to convert on its ensuing possession, giving Keene State the ball out-of-bounds with 21 seconds to go.
Cirillo's missed layup with five seconds left was snatched out of the air by Samantha Hemingway (Newport, N.H.). The sophomore forward got rid of the ball before the final horn but saw her shot roll around the rim and out.
Hemingway pulled down an offensive board and converted a layup on Keene State's opening possession of overtime. Vitale answered on the other end with a jumper before Laudano's dagger from the top of the circle put the Owls on top for good.
The Gulls trimmed the lead to just one on three separate occasions in the extra frame and found themselves trailing by three with 15 seconds remaining.
Wright's three point attempt from the far corner fell just short and was gathered underneath the basket by White. Her layup couldn't find the basket and skipped out of bounds to the Owls. Cirillo iced the game with a pair of free throws give Keene State the five-point win.
White finished with a career-high nine points and five rebounds for the Gulls, who dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season and fall to 5-3. KSC snapped a three game losing streak to improve to 3-4.
The Owls return home to host LEC rival Southern Maine at 1 p.m. on Saturday. "Everytime we play Southern Maine it's a tough game," said Laudano. "Tonight's win gives us confidence heading into Saturday."
(Courtesy Endicott Sports Information)