PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior guard Erin McNamara (West Newbury, Mass./Pentucket Regional) scored a driving layup as time expired to lift the No. 14 University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 56-54 overtime win over the Rhode Island College Anchormen in a Little East Conference women's basketball game Sunday afternoon at The Murray Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
The win is the fourth straight for the Huskies who improve to 22-1 overall and 11-1 in the Little East Conference and gives USM the season sweep over the Anchormen. Suffering its second consecutive LEC overtime loss, Rhode Island College dips to 13-10 overall and 6-6 in the LEC.
With the score tied at 54-54 with 2:25 to play in the overtime period, both teams failed on consecutive possessions. After a missed three from RIC and a defensive rebound from sophomore forward Rebecca Knight (Alfred, Maine/McAuley) to secure the ball for the Huskies, USM ran down the game-clock before a RIC foul shut off the shot clock for the final play. With 28 seconds remaining, McNamara held for the final shot of the game, before driving to her right and banking in a sweeping layup for the win.
McNamara finished with six points, two assists and a game-high five steals. Senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) posted a double-double with a 16 points and 11 rebounds - both team-high totals - while Knight finished with a double-double on 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, Mass.) led RIC with 14 points and eight rebounds. Freshman forward Vandell Andrade (Providence, R.I./St. Mary's-Bay View) added 12 points and a game-high 16 rebounds and junior guard Stephanie Prusko (Lincoln, R.I.) added 11 points off of the bench.
With both teams shooting poorly, Southern Maine held a modest 49-42 lead with 5:21 left in regulation following a jumper from sophomore guard Taylor Flood (Sanford, Maine) on a feed from McNamara. However, the Anchormen roared back to take a 52-50 lead with a 10-1 run over the next four minutes. Four different players scored for RIC in the run led by Burns' four points including the go-ahead basket with 1:23 remaining. With baskets at a premium, both teams combined for an 0-for-3 effort over the next 1:18, before Grant canned a jumper on an assist from senior forward Haley Jordan (Falmouth, Maine) with five seconds on the clock to force overtime.
In overtime, the Huskies started off hot with a steal from McNamara leading to a Knight layup for a 54-52 lead with 4:36 to play before scoring again held steady with both teams combining for a 0-for-5 effort before Andrade pulled RIC even with an offensive rebound and a layup for a 54-54 ball game with 2:25 to play. Both teams squandered a pair of possessions, with USM turning the ball over twice while RIC missed to baskets, before McNamara took control for the Huskies' win.
Southern Maine remains on the road in Little East Conference action at Plymouth State University on Wednesday (5:30 p.m.).