Women's Game Recaps #53 - 2/2/17

* Thursday night's only regional game was a dandy, as Daemen scored the final seven points of the contest to nip Bridgeport in Amherst, 83-76. Both teams entered the evening with .500 records in ECC play but it was the Wildcats who claimed a critical victory, their fifth in a row, to move into fifth place in the loop. Calling this a close one would be an understatement, as it featured five ties, sixteen lead changes and a difference of no more than eight points at any juncture. Sarah Saba, who scored 21 of her game-high 26 points in the first half, converted the last nine Wildcat points of the first period to help them gather a 25-24 lead after one frame. Daemen led by as many as eight points a couple of occasions in the second stanza, the final time at 43-35 with 3:01 to go, but the Purple Knights responded with a 7-2 flurry to end the half down by just three points, 45-42. The second half was full of back-and-forth; UB held a 63-62 advantage at the close of the third period and, after an Aurelie Leblanc-Florent (23 points, 6-13 3FG) trey with 1:14 left in the game, the guests held their last lead, 78-76. Saba's (11-26 FG, 2-4 3FG, 7 rebounds) three-point play with 56 seconds to go put Daemen ahead for keeps, 79-78, and two free throws each from Carina Pringle (11 points) and Natalie Galus (8 points, 7 assists) in the final 22 seconds wrapped it up for the Wildcats. Jordan Heinold (15 points, 13 in the second half; 6 caroms) and Leah McDonell (10 points, 9 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals) also played key roles for Daemen, which shot 44% overall and compiled a 16/10 assist/turnover ratio. Nicole Johnson (14 points), Evelyn Ovner (12 rebounds) and Louise Ovner (8 points, 11 boards) were among the supporting players for UB, as they shot 42%, ruled the glass (53-35, including 23 offensive boards) and banked a 23-9 edge in second chance points. Daemen enjoyed slight advantages in three-point shooting efficiency (Daemen 9-20 3FG; UB 9-27 3FG) and at the foul line (Daemen 14-19 FT; UB 9-17 FT). With back-to-back losses, the Purple Knights now sit in a tie with LIU Post for the sixth and final ECC playoff spot at the moment.