Bonnies drop double overtime thriller to North Texas 72-71

The St. Bonaventure women’s basketball team (3-3) dropped its third game Saturday night in the consolation game of the New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament. North Texas (1-4) bested the Bonnies by a score of 72-71 in double-overtime.

It was a tale of two halves for the Bonnies. Early in the first half it was Ashley Zahn who found the hot hand knocking down her first two three-point attempts to give SBU an early 6-2 lead. Zahn stayed hot and by the end of the first half she had hit a career-high five triples for a career-high 15 points.

CeCe Dixon added nine points of her own in the first half on 3-6 shooting from deep. The Bonnies had built a 19 point advantage with 4:11 to play in the first half but North Texas used those remaining minutes to go on a 10-3 run to close the half. At the break the Bonnies led 30-18.

In the second half, the Bonnies stuck with the  hot hand of Ashley Zahn as she dropped two more deep balls to help extend the SBU lead to 16, 45-29, with 12:47 to play. But the Mean Green, who average 72 points per game, would not be held back for much longer.

North Texas used a 9-0 run to get themselves back in to this one.  CeCe Dixon broke the run with a jumper at the 8:44 mark. The score held at 47-40 for over two minutes when Braylah Blakely broke the silence with a jumper. Doris Ortega made a pair of free throws and pitched in a lay-up to push the lead back up to nine.

The Bonnies held that nine point advantage with 4:03 to play when Alexis Hyder stole the ball away from Katie Healy and found Laura McCoy in transition for a three. The lead would be cut to four following  Katie Healy free throw when Desiree Nelson drilled a three-pointer with 3:27 to play.

Doris Ortega missed two lay-ups on the next Bonnies possession. North Texas capitalized with a jumper from BreAnna Dawkins, bringing the score to 52-50 with 2:49 left in the game. Ortega composed her herself and finished the lay-in on the ensuing possession to push the lead back up to four with 2:26 to play.

Following a missed three by Dixon at the 1:40 mark, the Mean Green’s Laura McCoy stepped back and knocked down a deep three to cut the lead to just one point with 1:26 remaining in regulation.

After a missed one-and-one opportunity for Dixon, Sara Stanley finished a lay-in on the other end to give North Texas their first lead of the game, 55-54 with 42 seconds to play. Dixon drove quickly and grabbed the lead back for the Bonnies with a lay-up.

Alexis Hyder of North Texas drew a foul on Ortega on their next possession and sank one of two free throws to tie the game. Ortega actually snagged the rebound when Hyder missed the second try but fell down and was called for a travel, giving North Texas a chance to win the game in the final 13 seconds.

Laura McCoy missed a long desperation three pointer after the Bonnies played tough defense to send this one to overtime.

At the end of regulation there were three Bonnies in double figures. Ashley Zahn led all scorers with 21 while Ortega and Dixon added 16 and 11 respectively. Ortega had already recorded her third double-double of the season and fifth of her career with 11 rebounds in regulation as well.

In the first overtime, North Texas used free throws to jump ahead to a 60-56 lead in the first fifty seconds of play. Ortega scored to cut the UNT lead to two then Dixon cut it to one when she made one of two free throws.

Desiree Nelson re-established the four point North Texas lead with a three pointer with just 2:28 to play in overtime. Jordan McGee added a free throw but the Mean Green bumped their lead up to five with a lay-up by Alexis Hyder, who would finish this game a perfect 6-6 from the floor.

Following a missed three by North Texas, Dixon drew a foul and made both free throws. At this stage the Bonnies were trailing 65-62 with 36 seconds remaining. Instead of fouling, the Bonnies opted to play tough defense and forced North Texas into a contested lay-up that fell off the mark. Ortega grabbed the rebound and quickly found Dixon who sprinted down the floor. Realizing that she need three points to continue this game, Dixon adjusted her route, stepped back to the three point line and launched. Her shot would fall with 1.4 seconds left on the clock, tying the game once again. The full-court heave by North Texas was off the mark and the game headed to a second overtime.

This time it was the Bonnies who struck first when Dixon connected with a lay-in on the Bonnies first possession. North Texas didn’t wait around however, scoring on their next two possessions to grab a two-point lead.

The two teams held each other scoreless over the next three minutes. Alexis Hyder broke the drought with a jumper, giving UNT a four-point lead, 71-67 with one minute remaining in overtime number two.

Dixon drew a foul and hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to two with 31 seconds left. Sara Stanley would get fouled by Jordan McGee in an attempt to stop the clock. Stanley made one of two free throws.

Dixon drew yet another foul with 20 seconds left. She drained both tries, cutting the North Texas lead to just one, 72-71. Nyla Rueter subbed in and fouled Desiree Nelson with 11 seconds left on the clock. Nelson missed both free throws and Dixon, who scored the final 11 points for the Bonnies, secured the ball and drove straight to the basket. Her contested lay-up would not fall. St. Bonaventure had lost its third straight.

Many career and season highs were set among St. Bonaventure players despite the loss. Doris Ortega scored a season high 18 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds while playing a career-high 46 minutes. Ashley Zahn scored a career best 21 points by making a career high seven threes. She also handed out a career high four assists in a career best 32 minutes. Tatiana Wilson, who started the second half and both overtimes in place of Alaina Walker, played a career high 36 minutes and grabbed a career best five rebounds. CeCe Dixon made the biggest impact on her career numbers tonight, posting a career best 25 points on 7-23 shooting, 4-13 from deep in a career best 43 minutes.

As a team the Bonnies shot 42.9 percent including 12-27 from three-point range. SBU turned the ball over 31 times and allowed 32 points in the paint. Just six of the Bonnies 71 points came off the bench.

GAME NOTES: The Bonnies are in the midst of their first three-game losing streak since Feb. 2-9, 2011. The Bonnies broke that streak with a win at home over Duquesne. The Bonnies will not have the luxury of going home to break this streak as they will have five more games on the road before returning to the Reilly Center. Jordan McGee scored one point and snagged five rebounds in the final game of her homecoming to Albuquerque.

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