|Justine Benner and George Fox
cleared a major hurdle in their pursuit of a perfect regular
George Fox athletics file photo
No. 3 George Fox got a last second defensive stand and just enough offense to edge No. 19 Whitworth and keep its perfect season in tact.
The last time George Fox played Whitworth, the Bruins opened up a 31-point halftime lead and never looked back. This time Whitworth hung tight with the visiting Bruins for the whole game. Nicole Blizzard hit a three pointer to put George Fox in front 51-48 in the final minute of regulation, but Katara Belton-Sharp answered with a three on Whitworth's next possession to send the game to overtime.
Justine Benner hit a jumper on George Fox's first possession of overtime and the Bruins didn't score again the rest of the way. Fortunately for them, the Pirates didn't make any field goals and managed just one point in overtime. On Whitworth's final possession, Belton-Sharp drove to the rim for a game winning shot that was blocked by the Bruins' Lauren Codling.
Benner had 14 points and nine rebounds for George Fox (22-0, 13-0). In addition to her big shot block, Codling had six points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Belton-Sharp scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Whitworth (19-3, 10-3).
In other women's action, the Empire 8 has its four playoff teams set with four games to play. St. John Fisher defeated Houghton 58-42 to secure its 37th conference playoff bid in 41 seasons. Veronica Heck scored a career-high 21 points and Nazareth beat Utica 70-51 to lock up its playoff spot. Ithaca and Stevens already clinched playoff bids entering the weekend.
On the men's side, Chicago stayed in front of the crowded UAA field with a 72-63 win at Rochester. Jordan Smith scored 29 points for the Maroons who lead Emory and NYU by one game. Chicago travels to Emory on Sunday and the Eagles will be coming off tonight's 93-87 victory over No. 14 Washington U. The Bears drop into a three-way tie for fourth place, two games behind Chicago.
Trinity (Conn.) completed its unlikely run through the NESCAC with a win in Vermont over Middlebury, 90-85. The Bantams (19-5, 9-1) will be the top seed in the NESCAC playoffs that start next Saturday. Bowdoin, which was ranked ninth in the first Northeast regional rankings, rolled over Bates, which was ranked first, 98-70.
Baruch held off Staten Island 66-62 to secure the top spot in the CUNYAC tournament. Granville Gittens celebrated Senior Night by scoring 20 points for the Bearcats who are 14-1 in conference.