Tait Hits Game-Winning Jumper with Nine Seconds Left
CHESTERTOWN, MD -- Junior guard Meghan Tait (Oxford, PA/Oxford Area) converted the game-winning jumper with nine seconds remaining to give host Washington College a 57-56 upset over visiting Johns Hopkins in a Centennial Conference women's basketball game this afternoon inside Cain Athletic Center. The game, which was moved up to a 3:00 p.m. start time due to an impending snowstorm, saw seven ties and five lead changes in the second half.
Hopkins (9-3, 6-2 Centennial) scored the first eight points of the game and took a 14-3 lead on a three-pointer by Siobhan Callanan with 13:45 left in the period. Washington (4-8, 2-5) twice cut the deficit to four points later in the period, but the Blue Jays scored the final four points of the half and held a 31-22 lead at the intermission.
The Shorewomen opened the second half on an 8-1 run to cut the lead to 32-30 on a lay-up by freshman forward/center Latisha Pledger (Chesapeake, VA/Indian River) with 15:25 on the clock. Each team scored two points on each of their next two possessions before Chantel Mattiola hit a three-pointer for Hopkins to give the Blue Jays a 39-34 cushion with 13:21 to go. After a pair of Pledger free throws, Lyndsay Burton made a lay-up with 12:23 to give Hopkins a 41-36 advantage. That was the last lead of more than four points for either team in the contest.
Washington scored the next five points as junior guard Sally O'Donnell (Cape May Court House, NJ/Wildwood Catholic) knocked down a three-pointer with 12:18 to go and Tait converted a lay-up with 11:42 remaining to tie the score for the first time since the opening tip. Mattiola scored on a lay-up with 9:55 to go to put the Blue Jays back in front, 43-41. Washington tied the score two more times before a pair of free throws by freshman forward Erin Fitzgerald (Greensboro, NC/Bishop McGuiness) gave the Shorewomen their first lead of the game at 47-45 with 7:16 remaining. The Blue Jays then scored six of the next eight pints to take a 53-49 lead on a jumper by Lyndsay Burton with 4:47 to go. A pair of free throws by Washington freshman guard Claire Mattox (Arlington, VA/Potomac School) with 4:18 left and a Pledger jumper in the paint with 2:57 remaining knotted the score for the sixth time in the half at 53-53.
Neither team scored again before Pledger was fouled on a lay-up after an offensive rebound and went to the line to sink both free throws with 1:02 remaining, giving the Shorewomen a 55-53 advantage. After a Hopkins turnover, Washington regained possession with 43 seconds to go, but Mattiola stole the ball from Tait, scored a fast-break lay-up, and was fouled with 28 seconds remaining. Mattiola made the free throw to give the Blue Jays a 56-55 lead.
Tait's game-winner with nine seconds left came on a short jumper from the right of the hoop off an offensive rebound of her own missed lay-up. Mattiola drove to the hoop for a lay-up attempt on the final possession of the game, but the shot missed and Pledger grabbed the board as time expired.
Pledger had a huge second half for the Shorewomen, scoring 14 of her team-high 16 points and collected seven of her game-high 11 rebounds in the period. She was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the game and seven of her 11 boards were on the offensive end. O'Donnell added 15 points on 5-for-10 shooting, including 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, for the Shorewomen, while sophomore center Erin Kile (Benton, PA/Benton) added 10 points. Tait finished with nine points, eight rebounds, and a game-best five assists.
Burton led all players in scoring, netting 23 points for the Blue Jays to go along with 10 rebounds and three steals. Callanan and Mattiola added 10 points a piece for Hopkins.
The Shorewomen missed their first 10 field goal attempts in the game, but shot 18-for-41 the rest of the way. Washington also knocked down 16 of its 18 free-throw attempts in the game. Hopkins shot 13-for-30 in the first half and was held to 9-for-31 shooting in the second half. Washington enjoyed a 25-13 advantage on the boards in the second half and a 38-35 margin for the game.
The victory was just the Shorewomen's second in 26 all-time meetings with the Blue Jays, but their second in the last three meetings in Chestertown. Washington recorded its first-ever win over Hopkins on February 21, 2009, winning by a 66-58 final.
The Shorewomen return to action Thursday with a 6:00 p.m. Centennial Conference home game against Dickinson.