Springfield, Mass. (February 21) -- With the game heading towards overtime, AIC's Sarah Noble stole the inbounds pass in the final seconds and scored on a layup at the buzzer to defeat Assumption by a 58-56 final on Tuesday night at Butova Gym. Assumption is receiving votes in this week's USA Today/ESPN Division II National Top 25 Poll.
Assumption jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead in the early minutes before the Yellow Jackets answered with an 8-1 run to tie the game with just over 12 minutes left. The Hounds briefly regained the lead on a layup from Gabrielle Gibson (Amityville, N.Y./Copiague) before AIC put together a 17-3 run over nine minutes to lead by a 27-14 margin with 3:03 left. Gibson scored the last nine points of the half for the Hounds though as Assumption cut the lead down to 28-21 at the halftime break.
In the second half, Assumption came out firing and quickly took the lead on a 10-0 run that was capped by a three-pointer from sophomore Lindsey Roche (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic). The game was tied again at 40-40 with 9:26 left before a 13-0 AIC run made it a 53-40 margin with just 5:35 on the clock.
The Yellow Jackets continued to hold a sizable lead at 55-48 before a layup from Sabrina Siciliano (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield-Warde) and two straight Gibson threes pulled the Hounds to within one at 55-54 with 1:30 left. After an empty possession for the Yellow Jackets, the Hounds called timeout with 31.2 seconds left and trailing by one. Gibson drove to the hoop for a layup and was fouled with 20.1 seconds left. She missed the free throw however and AIC rebounded the ball with the Hounds leading by a 56-55 margin.
With 3.8 seconds left, AIC's Rhea Pascal was fouled in the post and headed to the line with a chance to take the lead. After missing the first, Pascal nailed the second to tie the game. On the ensuing inbounds play, Noble picked it off and drove to the basket and laid the ball in off the glass at the buzzer for the stunning 58-56 final.
Gibson led all scorers with 24 points, while senior All-American candidate Kelly Meredith (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) finished with 10 points. Pascal led AIC with a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double.
Assumption ends the regular season at 17-9 overall and 14-8 in Northeast-10 play, while American International improves to 12-14 overall and 11-11 in league action.
No. 6 seeded Assumption hits the road to No. 3 seeded Pace University on Sunday, February 26th as the Hounds take on the Setters in a Northeast-10 Tournament Quarterfinal Game.