The University of Rochester women's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Division III "Sweet 16" for the fifth straight season after a 61-54 overtime win over visiting University of Mary Washington.
The Yellowjackets (20-6) were up six with less than one minute to play following an Amy Woods layup. The Eagles' Jenna McRae hit back-to-back three pointers in a 35-second span to tie the game. Head Coach Deena Applebury said of her senior guard "she took us on her shoulders at that point and put us in a position to go into overtime." Mary Washington had an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer, but a baseline jumper from Katie Wimmer hit front iron and bounced out.
In overtime, Rochester took advantage of six points from Jodie Luther to open up a four point cushion. Melissa Alwardt went four for four from the charity stripe to seal the win.
In a game between two equally matched opponents, Rochester's largest lead was just eight points. In the first half, the Yellowjacket defense limited the Eagles' to 27.6% shooting from the floor. The home team took a 24-18 lead into the break. Head Coach Jim Scheible said "to match them, we had to play our best game."
The Eagles' slowly chipped away at the deficit midway through the second half. With just over eight minutes to play in the game, Wimmer hit a three pointer from the left side to give Mary Washington its first lead since going ahead 8-7. After the Woods' layup and subsequent three pointers from the Eagles' McRae, the two teams were deadlocked at 50.
The Yellowjackets outscored the Eagles 11-4 in the extra period.
Alwardt led all scorers with 18 points (four three point field goals). The junior guard, who added eight rebounds, said "I trust everyone on this team. We've played so many close games this year. We needed everybody today and we got it." Luther finished with 12 points while freshman Amy Woods chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
McRae (16 points, seven rebounds) and Wimmer (15 points, eight rebounds) led the Eagles' offensively. Kate Carlezon (11 points) capped the double-digit scorers for Mary Washington, which finished the year 22-6.
Rochester will make its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA "Sweet 16." They will take on Christopher Newport (30-0) on March 12th. The location of that game will be announced on Sunday.