Maggs Gym played host to a battle of two of the top teams in the Capital Athletic Conference on Saturday with hopes of hosting in the playoffs on the line.
Top ranked Southern Virginia University (17-4) looked to sweep the season series against Salisbury (15-7) after a 66-50 win earlier this season. But the Sea Gulls were bringing added momentum into the matchup on their Senior Day.
Before the contest SU honored their four seniors; guards Aprile Preller and Megan Konig; forwards Kaylyn French and Morgan Maturani. The game also marked Salisbury’s annual ‘Play 4 Kay’ breast cancer awareness game.
The Knights came into Saturday’s matchup losing three of their last four contests. While Salisbury had won three of their last five.
After SVU scored the opening points of the contest, the Sea Gulls would quickly jump out to a 9-4 lead over halfway through the first quarter. The Knights spent the remainder of the quarter trying to cut into Salisbury’s lead, which was cut to a 14-11 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
The Knights took over in the second quarter and dominated Salisbury both offensively and defensively. Opening up the second quarter on an 8-0 run, SVU regained the lead in the at 17-14.
SU fought for the rest of the half to keep the game close but the Knights would not surrender their lead going into the half. Sophomore forward Courtney Brigham made a buzzer beating put back as time expired in the first half, cutting the SVU lead to 28-23.
The Knights kept their foot on the gas in the second half, pushing their lead to 12 points towards the middle of the third quarter. An 8-0 run would cut SU’s deficit to 45-38 at the end of the third quarter.
Salisbury would outscore the Knights 9-5 throughout the first four minutes of the fourth quarter with Konig capping the run off with a three to tie the game at 50. The Sea Gulls and Knights would match each other shot-for-shot during the final three minutes of the game.
“[Our team] just buckled down and started working together,” Konig said. “We understood what we needed to do [to get back into this game]. Coach [Baskow] told us in the locker room and we all came together with intensity that we needed and tried to pull it out.”
With the game tied 55-55, Konig found junior center Rachel Ryan for a bucket to take the lead over with 10.1 seconds left. The Knights’ final possession of the game looked all but locked up with SU’s defense limiting any open looks.
A missed layup by senior guard Bryndie Ballam sent the crowd into a roar until fellow senior guard Alexus Barnes’ last second put-back silenced Maggs. The game-tying layup left less than a second on the clock, guaranteeing overtime with the game tied at 57.
The Knights did just enough to give themselves a second life on the road, which proved to be all they needed as they dominated in overtime.
SVU held Salisbury to just three points throughout the overtime period, taking home the 67-60 win in overtime.
Freshman forward Kaylee Otlowski lead the Sea Gulls in scoring with 16 points with Konig right behind at 14. Brigham lead the team with six rebounds, while sophomore guard Amber Onyekwere dished out a team high seven assists.
The Sea Gulls (15-8, 7-5 CAC) will host Christopher Newport (18-5, 9-3 CAC) for Salisbury’s final regular season home game of the year on Wednesday, February 13 at 5:30 p.m.
By BRANDON STARK
Featured photo: SU Women's Basketball team huddles together during a timeout in their game against SVU. Feb. 9. (Jillian Swaim images).