Wheaton drops 78-75 double-OT thriller to Plymouth State for tip-off title

Wheaton drops 78-75 double-OT thriller to Plymouth State for tip-off title

NORTON, Mass. - Wheaton College women's basketball sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) sank a three with 9.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, drained a buzzer-beating triple to push a second extra session and nearly hit another trey to force a third overtime, as the Lyons dropped a 78-75 double-overtime thriller to Plymouth State University during Saturday's tip-off tournament title game in Emerson Gymnasium.

Falling to 1-2, Wheaton, which saw junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) named to the all-tournament team, was seeking its eighth crown in this the 17th year the Blue and White has hosted.  Improving to 2-1, the Panthers were led by tournament MVP Sammie Walker (Manchester, N.H./Central), a freshman, and all-tourney junior Alicia Doucet (Manchester, N.H./Central), who poured in a career-best 32 points.

Trimboli finished with 24 points, including a career-high-tying six threes, and five assists.  DePalo pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds to go alongside eight points, while sophomore Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) notched a career-best 19 points and 10 boards in just 23 minutes.  Freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) contributed eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.

For the Panthers, Walker turned in 14 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, and Doucet made 10-of-13 from the free throw line while adding seven rebounds and four steals.  Junior Michaela Galvin (Windham, N.H./Salem) finished with 15 points and six assists, senior Amanda Kania (Manchester, N.H./West) had seven points and 10 boards, while sophomore Colleen O'Hara (Otego, N.Y./Unatego Central) added six points, eight rebounds and five steals.

With the score deadlocked at 71 entering the second overtime, Wheaton scored the frame's first four points and led for the initial 4:28 of the stanza.  However, four Plymouth freebies sandwiched around a Lyon turnover put the Panthers in front 78-75 with just over six ticks to play.  Trimboli, who dribbled the ball the length of the court, got a decent look at the basket, but her shot was just off the mark.

In the first overtime, a pair of Doucet free throws gave the Panthers a 71-68 edge with seven seconds left before Trimboli answered with her sixth three of the game.  Doucet's jumper with 36 ticks remaining in regulation made the score 62-59, but Trimboli was up for the task, as her long-range bucket helped the Lyons gain new life in overtime.  The second half was tightly contested, as neither team held more than a five-point lead.

Ortiz single-handedly kept the Lyons in the game early in the opening half, scoring her team's first 10 points as Wheaton trailed 12-10 at the 15:19 mark.  Plymouth State led 19-14 approaching the midway point of the frame before going on a 15-6 spurt for a 34-20 advantage at 6:36.  The Lyons countered by scoring 11 unanswered points to narrow their deficit to three at 34-31.  A conventional three-point play by Pierce made the score 36-34 in favor of the visitors before Doucet matched Pierce with a lay-in and free throw for a 39-34 halftime lead.