by Anthony Sizemore, Student Sports Reporter
The Alice Lloyd Lady Eagles were back on their home court on Tuesday, February 11th. The Lady Eagles fell behind, but roared back to take an epic 107-105 double overtime victory over Asbury University.
The hosts had won three in a row — six of their last seven — and were peaking at the right time. The home team started off well, jumping out 8-3 early on. After that, it seemed as if almost everything that Asbury shot went into the basket. The Lady Eagles matched up in a two-three zone for most of the half, but were forced to abandon it in favor of a man-to-man due to the hot shooting of AU. The host Eagles played well on the offensive end, but did not have an answer for the road team’s nine three-pointers. Even with 18 first-half points from leading scorer Ariel Nickell, Alice Lloyd found itself trailing at halftime, 50-41.
In the second half, things would get worse before they would get better for ALC.
With fifteen minutes to go in the second stanza, Asbury stretched their lead out to as many as eighteen and was totally dominating the contest. But this is when the time came for Alice Lloyd to begin their incredible comeback. Sparked by Carla Booth, Taylor Arthur, and scrappy Tailor Morgan, the Lady Eagles sliced into Asbury’s once enormous lead, but still trailed 86-78 with just over two minutes to play. A 7-2 burst whipped the crowd into a frenzy and got the hosts within a bucket at 88-85 with under a minute remaining.
With a chance to tie the contest, the hosts missed a game-tying three, forcing Asbury to shoot free throws. AU led by five with just 11 ticks left on the clock, and it looked as if they would hang on for the win. However, Alice Lloyd’s Booth raced down the court and hit a driving layup with 6 seconds remaining. On the inbounds play, ALC put excellent pressure on the ball and forced the visitors to throw a long pass that was picked off at half court by Eagle guard Megan Jones. Jones spotted the freshman Tailor Morgan behind the arc, and the youngster coolly swished a clutch three-pointer with .01 remaining to send the game into overtime. The roar of the crowd was deafening.
In the first overtime period, Asbury would once again take the lead. However, the home team would punch right back to tie the game at 96. Both teams would exchange baskets late in the session to knot the score at 98. Alice Lloyd was able to force a turnover to get the ball back, and they held for the last shot. In the closing seconds, ALC fired up a first potential game-winning shot that would miss. Freshman Arthur corralled the loose ball, but her put-back would rim out, sending the game into a second overtime with both teams still tied at 98.
In double OT, Asbury scored first and held a 100-99 lead after Alice Lloyd made one out of two free throws with 4:08 remaining. Both teams traded a couple of buckets, and AU continued to hold on to their one-point advantage, 104-103, with 2:20 to go. ALC’s Booth would convert on some huge free throws to get her squad even with Asbury at 105 with 1:05 to play. Shortly afterwards, Megan Jones went 1-for-2 from the foul line to put the Lady Eagles up by one. Asbury would have a chance to regain control, but missed a contested shot; on the ensuing rebound, AU fouled Nickell with 15 seconds left. Nickell swished one of two free throws, setting the score at 107-105 in favor of the home team.
The visitors had one final chance, and with the way the game had gone, the crowd fully expected them to score and send the contest to a third overtime. With precious seconds winding down and under suffocating defense, Asbury was forced to fire and missed an off-balanced trey. AU center Kelli Rinehart rebounded and tossed up a short jump shot at the buzzer. Fortunately, to the delight of the home fans, it bounced off.
For ALC (16-7, 10-3 KIAC) Booth had a sensational game with a career-high 42 points to go along with 4 assists. The Warfield, KY native always seemed to drain a huge shot whenever ALC needed it. Senior forward Ariel Nickell continued her scintillating play with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Taylor Arthur contributed 13 points to go along with 7 boards.
Asbury (19-6, 9-4 KIAC), who battled for fifty minutes, was led by Annissia Wood’s 37 points. Wood was 5-for-5 from three-point range. For the game, Asbury’s Lady Eagles sank 15 from behind the arc.
With the win, Alice Lloyd joins Point Park at #1 in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rankings.
The Lady Eagles will now get a short rest until Saturday, February 15th, when they are scheduled to welcome Midway to Pippa Passes. Midway defeated Alice Lloyd earlier this season. The game will tip at 2 PM.