Women's Basketball: Hogan hits big shots in overtime thriller
A thrilling day at Lundholm Gymnasium ended with the UNH women's basketball team beating Hartford, 76-71 in overtime. The Wildcats, who trailed for the majority of the day, led a late comeback to force overtime and grab the victory.
Trailing 61-57 with 38 seconds left in the game, forward Corinne Coia fell to ground and could not get up. After a few minutes on the court, Coia was helped off with trainers, her back clearly hurting her.
"It's always tough to see a teammate go down," senior captain Kelsey Hogan said. "Corinne had played so well that we wanted to win it for her."
Using the prolonged timeout, sophomore Elizabeth Belanger fired off a three-pointer to cut the deficit to 61-60.
After Belanger fouled Hartford's Deanna Mayza, who scored one free throw and missed another, Hogan grabbed the rebound, raced down the court and tipped the ball in to tie the game and force overtime.
"Kelsey always seems to make the big shots for us," head coach Maureen Magarity said. "She's our clutch player and always makes the big plays."
The first three minutes of overtime saw both teams trade points, the score knotted at 66. With 1:42 left, Hogan came up with a three-pointer to give the Wildcats a 69-66 lead. Junior Ariel Gaston would add a free throw and a jumper with junior Kaylee Kilpatrick adding in two more three throws to give the 'Cats a 74-66 lead with 22 seconds to play.
The Wildcats trailed the majority of the first half, hampered by 11 turnovers that the Hawks turned into 17 points. Hartford hit a barrage of three-pointers, connecting on six of 18. The Wildcats hit some 3-pointers of their own, going four of seven from the three-point line. Two of them came late, one from Hogan and another from Frankenberger. The latter gave New Hampshire a four-point lead, its largest lead of the first half. The Hawks responded with a three of their own and a layup and the half ended with UNH clinging to a 31-30 lead.
Hartford led the majority of the second half, leading by as much as eight. While the three-pointer didn't fall as well for the Hawks, they did force turnovers (seven in the second half) and grab seven offensive rebounds. The Wildcats stayed in it, forcing overtime.
"Turnovers, rebounding, three point-defense, we've got to work on all of those," Gaston said. "Protecting the ball is a priority."
Gaston, after having a career night against Binghamton, played 40 minutes, totaling 14 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. She added five assists and a steal.
"Ariel played a great game," Magarity said. "She played 40 minutes, and put up a great stat-line. A lot of nights, it's the little things that she does that helps our team to win. It doesn't always show up on the stat sheet."
New Hampshire shot very well in the game, going 23 of 47 for a 48.9 percent shooting clip. Hartford, who had 22 more shots, went 25 of 69 for 36.2 percent. The Wildcats had 18 turnovers in the game compared to the Hawks eight. Despite Hartford getting 15 offensive rebounds compared to UNH's nine, the Wildcats had more overall rebounds, grabbing 41 boards compared to the Hawks 33.
Hogan, who recorded 17 points, six rebounds and five assists, hit seven of her points in the final 5:08 of the game. Frankenberger scored 15, going two of three from the three-point line. Coia, before her injury, chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds, while Belanger almost had a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Kilpatrick, who came off the bench, recorded three blocks in 22 minutes of play.
Despite trailing for the majority of the game, Gaston and company never thought they would lose.
"We never thought we were going to lose this game," Gaston said. "In years past, we've allowed ourselves to get down and lose, but this year we know we're in every game. We believe in each other and our game."
"There's something about this team," Hogan said. "I've never been apart like any team like this. There's something special about us, as a group."
While Magarity was excited about her team's thrilling victory and setting a personal-best of 10 conference wins, she realizes that there is more to do.
"At the same time, we've gotten lucky," Magarity said. "There are things that we can do better, and the shots we've needed to go down have and some of the shots we need to miss have. ... Obviously it's a huge deal for what we've done, it's another notch. But we have bigger goals and still have a ways to go."
New Hampshire improves to 10-2 in America East, good for second in the conference. Next up is a trip to Vermont on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tip-off. The Wildcats return home on Saturday to take on UMass-Lowell. That games starts at 1 p.m.
Arjuna Ramgopal can be reached on Twitter @ArjunaRamgopal
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