WINTER PARK, Fla. – Eckerd’s Taylor Bestry converted two free throws with 1.6 seconds to play, handing 13th-ranked Rollins a 68-67 loss in both school’s Sunshine State Conference opener.
Eckerd (4-2, 1-0 SSC) was paced by 18 points each from Liga Vente and Annie Armstrong, who also hauled in nine boards. Bestry added 12 after a 6-for-6 performance from the line while Krystal Charles recorded 11 points and eight rebounds.
Ashley Jones and Emmalee Schill each poured in 18 points to lead Rollins (5-2, 0-1 SSC). Sarah Blackburn was 5-of-6 from the line to add seven points to go along with nine rebounds.
The contest was close throughout with 13 ties, 13 lead changes and a six-point Rollins lead in the second half serving as the largest for either team.
The Tars used a 7-1 run in the middle of the first to take a 19-14 advantage with 10:42 to play in the frame. EC came back to tie at 19 before a Tera McDaniel jumper stopped the spurt.
A pair of Marie Gilbert free throws at the 1:23 mark gave Rollins a 32-31 lead and a Jones triple at the buzzer made it a 35-31 Tars advantage at the break.
In the second, neither team could put a run together as two Taylor free throws with 7:53 to play tied the game at 52.
With 3:24 to play, Jones drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to knot the score for a 10th time 61-61.
Rollins was down one with less than a minute to play and forced a lose ball under the Tritons basket. Blackburn was fouled in the scrum and calmly sank a pair from the line and put the Tars on top 67-66 with 14 seconds left.
With the final seconds ticking away, Bestry got off a jumper in the lane, but Schill was whistled for a foul to set up the final play. After the free throws, Jones lofted a desperation half court heave, but it just missed to the left.
Rollins shot 31 percent (21-68) from the field while Eckerd hit 22-of-49 (45 percent). The Tars were outrebounded 40-36 and committed just six turnovers while forcing 17.