NARBERTH, Pa. – Lil Carney tied her career high with 26 points and made a clutch basket with 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game into overtime in Widener’s upset of No. 10 Messiah 75-69 in Commonwealth Conference action.
Messiah was first on the scoreboard after Taylor Miller hit a 3-pointer. Francesca Lee put the Pride on the board with two in the paint, but Messiah scored the next eight points before Widener called a time out with 17 minutes left in the first half.
Searching for Widener’s first lead of the game, Carney drove the baseline for two points and after Widener regained possession, Jennifer Egee cut past the Messiah defense to put the Pride one point away from evening the score. The first tie of the game occurred after Carney converted on a three-point play to tie the game at 15 with 14 minutes to go in the first half.
Courtney Colella fed the ball to Kate Dellinger, who then hit a 3-pointer to give Widener its first lead of the game. Messiah made a run of its own with a few baskets in eight minutes, but Widener started working its way back with the help of two buckets in the paint from Dellinger. Carney, looking for an open teammate, saw Egee across the court and made a long pass ahead for an Egee 3-pointer.
A free throw made by Hejnas eventually tied the score at 33 with two minutes before intermission. Dellinger stole the ball and got it to Lee for the last basket of the half to send Widener into the break with a 35-33 lead.
Coming back from the break, Carney fed the ball to Lee to get the scoring sparked again. Widener was able to hang onto its lead for the first 14 minutes of the second half.
Holding a five-point lead, Joanna Persiano met Brianna Wylie with a quick pass for two points. With 11:40 remaining in regulation, Messiah tried to inbound the ball with a loop pass, but Dellinger picked it off for a fast break and easy layup. Messiah’s Nicky Hess made a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to bring the score within one. Taylor Miller took advantage of the baseline and drove for two points to tie the game at 55. She eventually gave the Falcons their first lead of the second half after finishing off the three-point play.
Messiah held the lead until the end of regulation when Carney made a clutch shot under the basket to send the game into overtime tied at 62.
Widener was the first to score in overtime after Lee was given the ball by Dellinger one minute into overtime. Dori Gyori posed a threat to Widener in overtime, making five of Messiah’s seven points.
With 3:45 remaining, Hejnas caused a jump ball for a Widener possession and turned it into two points. The last three minutes of overtime held 12 free throw attempts between the two teams, with Carney sinking four for Widener and Gyori making three for Messiah. Nicky Hess made the last two points of the game on two free throws but it was not enough to catch the Pride, who ultimately won after seven lead changes and seven ties to break the school record for most victories in a season (20)
Widener previously had won 19 contests during the 1981-82 and 2010-11 seasons.
Carney shot 8 of 17 from the floor and 9-for-11 from the line to match her individual high. She also had five rebounds, assists and steals in the game. Dellinger had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with three steals and two assists.
For Messiah, Gyori totaled 21 points to go with three assists, three blocked shots and two steals. Chelsea Danel served up eight assists and added 15 points to her team’s score.