Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lafayette Leopards Fall Short in Final Seconds Against Hampton Lady Pirates

SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts – Despite putting together a stellar second half performance, the Lafayette women’s basketball team was unable to hold onto a late lead and ultimately fell 58-55 in the closing seconds of a Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge game to Hampton on Sunday afternoon at the MassMutual Center.

The Leopards (1-6) dominated the glass, outrebounding the Lady Pirates 42-31. Olivia Gumbs made her mark, corralling a game-high 10 boards to go along with 10 points for her first collegiate career double-double. The Maroon and White shot the ball at a 38 percent clip, compared to Hamptons’ 31 percent mark. Maia Hood led the Leopards in scoring with 12.

In the opening minutes of the game, Hood knocked down a three from the right corner to knot the game up at five apiece. The Lady Pirates (3-4) took a timeout and responded with an 8-2 run to close out the opening quarter with a 13-7 advantage.

That run would continue into the second quarter, as Hampton came back onto the court and put up four unanswered points before Lafayette scored on a free throw by Gumbs. The Lady Pirates did most of their damage inside the paint early and utilized their speed to get to the rim and score in transition.

Midway through the second quarter, Hampton had a 21-10 lead, with 14 of those points coming from down low. Hampton’s leading scorer, Malia Tate-Defreitas, found success from all areas of the floor, connecting on four of her first seven shots for 11 first half points. The senior closed out her day with a game-high 22 points.

The Leopards struggled to get into many offensive sets due to a bevy of turnovers and the Lady Pirates took advantage of that by scoring 25 of their 58 points off of turnovers.

At the half, the Lady Pirates held the edge in scoring, 28-20.

Lafayette began to gain some momentum though in the latter half of the third quarter. Hood poured in four and following a Ptasinski midrange jumper, the deficit was trimmed to five. The Maroon and White continued to get quality looks at the basket and cut the Hampton lead to one after Stipa made a pair of foul shots in the final minute of the quarter.

To open up the fourth, a Hood jumper recaptured the lead for the Leopards, 36-35. Lafayette then put in back-to-back baskets to cap off an 18-5 run. From that point forward, it turned into a grind-it-out game as both the Leopards and the Lady Pirates went back and forth. It was the most successful quarter of the night for the Leopards, who shot 53 percent in the fourth.

Hampton deployed a full-court pressure and forced three turnovers, which resulted in six points to trim the Leopards’ lead to one. Lafayette eventually figured out how to break the press though and made two easy layups on two consecutive possessions. The Leopards held a three-point advantage before Tate-Defreitas lined up a three from far beyond the arc and buried it to even the score up at 50-50 with just over two minutes to play.

Hampton grabbed the lead on the ensuing possession, but it did not hold for long as Alexis Santarelli brought down an offensive board for the Leopards and put it back in while getting fouled. The freshman made the foul shot, but the Lady Pirates retook the lead on a Jephany Brown layup with less than 30 seconds left to play.

It came down to the final seconds and Hampton led by just one. However, the Leopards failed to get a shot off and were forced to send Tate-Freitas to the foul line, where she sank two to put her team up by three.

Lafayette inbounded the ball with six seconds on the clock and got a look at the basket, but the shot was blocked and Hampton survived late to capture the win.

The Leopards’ four-game road stretch has come to a close and the Maroon and White will return to College Hill for the just the second time this season to square off against Penn on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.



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