WESTFIELD, Mass. – Jill Valley's (Mahar/Orange, Mass, Westfield State Owls outlasted Jennie Lindland's (Martha's Vineyard/Edgartown, Mass.) Bridgewater State Bears, as the Owls posted a 97-95, double overtime victory in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference semifinals at the Woodward Center on Thursday evening.
Valley finished with 39 points for the Owls, while Lindland scored a BSU-record 38 points and grabbed a game and career-high 17 rebounds.
With the win, top-seeded Westfield State (18-8) will host #2 seed Framingham State (a 60-59 winner over #6 MCLA) on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. in the Woodward Center in the MASCAC Championship game, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament at stakes.
The two schools slugged it out for 50 minutes. Westfield State had a 23-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Bridgewater rallied to take a 39-28 lead on a jumper by Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford)with 4:16 left in the first half. Westfield countered with a 14-0 run over the next 3:31, capped by a Valley three pointer that gave Westfield a 42-39 lead, and the Owls extended the run to 19-3 at the end of the half as Lucy Barrett (Mt. Greylock/Williamstown, Mass.) drained a three-pointer with four seconds left in the half to give Westfield a 47-42 lead at the break.
Westfield led by as many as nine in the third quarter, but Bridgewater tied the game at 65-all early in the fourth quarter on a Lindland drive.
Westfield tied the game at 77-all on a Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.) drive with 43.7 seconds left in regulation. Bridgewater's Chelsea Saucier had a layup attempt at the buzzer blocked by Valley to force the first extra session.
The Owls grabbed a quick five-point lead in the overtime, on back-to-back steals and layups by Valley and Barret to lead 84-79. Bridgewater dramatically forced the second overtime with Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) hitting a step-back three-pointer from the right corner with 12 seconds left in the first overtime.
Westfield trailed 93-91 after a pair of free throw from Kayla Carter (St. Marty's/Hamilton, Mass.) with 3:27 left in the second OT. Valley tied the game at 93-all with a drive after a Rebecca Sapouckey (Granby/Chicopee, Mass.) offensive rebound with 2:40 left, then McCarthy opportunistically scooped up a loose ball and scored on a left handed layup with 1:28 left to give the Owls a 95-93 lead. Westfield went ahead 97-93 on a Valley crossover step-back jumper with 49.8 seconds left.
Bridgewater answered with a DaSilva drive that cut the lead to 97-95 with 40 seconds left in the second OT. Westfield was unable to score as the Bears played the possession out, and the Owls survived as Saucier front-rimmed a potential game-winning three pointer and Lindland rimmed out a put back attempt as the buzzer went off.
Valley made 14 of 31 shots from the floor, 5-14 from three point range, and 6-8 from the line. She added five rebouds and five steals. McCarthy finished with 17 points and seven rebounds for the Owls, with Kirsy Segarra (Holyoke, Mass.) adding 11 and Barrett 10. Junior center Sapouckey came up huge in the fourth quarter and overtime, grabbing nine of her 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass in the final 20 minutes. Valley scored 11 points in the overtime sessions, and McCarthy had 11 points and six rebounds between the fourth quarter and the OTs.
Lindland finished 15-25 from the floor and 8-11 at the foul line. Whyte finsied with 14 points for the Bears, Rhianna Page (Brookline, Mass.) added 13 points and six rebounds before fouling out, and Saucier netted 10 points and handed out six assists. Bridgewater completes its season at 12-15.