Hughes sinks OT game-winner, scores career-high 20 in W&L's 67-64 win over UMW

Erin Hughes

LEXINGTON, Va. – Sophomore guard/forward Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C. / Ravenscroft School) turned in a career-high 20 points, including the game-winning three pointer in overtime, and had eight steals to lead the Washington and Lee women's basketball team to a 67-64 comeback win in overtime over Mary Washington on Saturday afternoon.

The fourth quarter started with a 9-2 run from W&L (6-3) over the first 2:58 to give the Generals a 49-46 advantage. After both teams exchanged six points a side, Hughes splashed a three pointer to push the Generals' lead to six points, their largest lead of the game, with 3:47 to play. But the Eagles (4-5) held strong from there as they kept the Generals scoreless over the final 3:47 and tied the game on two buckets and a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.

With the game tied, 58-58, at the start of overtime, the Generals built a quick six-point lead over the first 1:10 of the period to put the pressure on the Eagles. But Mary Washington responded by holding the Generals scoreless over the next two minutes, while connecting on six free throws to tie the game up, 64-64.

Coming out of a timeout with 50 seconds remaining, W&L put the game in the hands of junior guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn. / Franklin Road Academy) who surveyed the court, looking for a shooter. With 38 seconds to play, she found Hughes on the near wing, as Hughes fired from beyond the arc and swished home the game-winner.

On the final defensive possession of the game, the Generals forced two missed shots before first-year guard Kate Groninger (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Upper St. Clair) pulled down the defensive board with 1.3 seconds on the clock to close the game.

Both teams had trouble finding the bottom of the net to open the contest as the first points didn't come until the 7:08 mark in the opening frame on a three-point shot from Mary Washington junior guard Emily Thompson. The Generals and Eagles were about even heading into the second quarter, with the Eagles holding a 10-8 advantage.

The Generals fell behind by five points midway through the second quarter, but clawed their way back over a two-and-a-half-minute span, before taking a 22-20 lead at 2:51 on a layup from Hughes. A quick 6-0 spurt from the Eagles put them back out in front by four, before ending the half up, 30-27.

W&L evened the score through the first five minutes of the third, 36-36, before another six straight points from Mary Washington gave the Eagles their largest lead of the day, 42-36.  From there, first-year forward Jordan Diehl (Springboro, Ohio / Springboro) hit a jumper, followed by a triple from Groninger to pull the Generals back to within a point, before an Eagles layup put the W&L deficit back to three points heading to the final quarter.

Hughes finished the game with a career-high 20 points, besting her previous high of 19 which she set in the Generals' last game against Eastern Mennonite on December 5. She finished 7-of-19 from the field, including 4-for-7 from long distance, and came away with a career-high eight steals, tied for the second most in a game in program history.

Casey tallied 11 points, including 6-for-6 on her free throws, to go along with three boards an assist and a steal. Her 6-for-6 performance at the line pushes her season free throw percentage to .953, the sixth-best mark in Division III this season.

Diehl totaled 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Groninger also scored in double figures, notching 11 points plus four rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes off the bench. Despite only scoring five points, first-year guard Megan Horn (Basking Ridge, N.J. / The Pingry School) filled the stat sheet with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals.

The Eagles were paced by senior guard Jordan Pamlanye who scored a game-high 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 10-of-12 from the free throw line, to go along with six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sophomore forward Tory Martin chipped in 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in 10 minutes off the bench.

Mary Washington held the shooting edge in the game, connecting on 50-percent on its shots (22-of-44) and 37.5-percent on its three pointers (3-of-8). The Generals shot 23-for-63 in the game (.365) but converted on 14-of-20 free throws (.700). W&L forced Mary Washington into 32 turnovers and came away with 21 steals, the first 20-steal game for W&L since January 24, 2009, and the most steals in a game since tallying a program-record 22 in a 90-26 win over Hollins on November 28, 2006.

The Generals edged the Eagles for the game in points off turnovers (30-12), second-chance points (9-6) and fast break points (9-8), while the Eagles held advantages in points in the paint (30-24) and bench points (23-13). The game saw 11 ties and 11 lead changes.

W&L will return to action on Saturday, December 29, when they face Mount Union at 7:00 pm on the first day of the NYU Holiday Classic.

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