Courtesy: U of R Athletics
It was a thrilling start to the University Athletic Association conference season as the University of Rochester women’s basketball team edged out a 71-66 overtime victory over visiting Emory University on Saturday afternoon at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
Rochester (9-3, 1-0 UAA) rallied from six points down in the final minute of regulation, getting two huge 3-pointers from junior Hannah Lindemuth, including a tying basket from beyond 30 feet with 11 seconds left.
Lindemuth finished with a season-high 23 points for the Yellowjackets, draining 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, adding three rebounds and three steals.
In overtime, the Eagles (6-4, 0-1 UAA) got the opening basket, a 3-pointer from Anna Arato, but were held off the scoreboard the rest of the way, as Rochester finished the game on a 8-0 run in overtime.
Joining Lindemuth in double-figures for Rochester was Julianna Okoniewski with 14 points and six rebounds and Maura Leverone who recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Emory was led by Arato who had 15 points and nine rebounds. Clarie Brock (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Tori Huggins (10 points, 10 rebounds) each had double-doubles for the Eagles, while Erin Martin chipped in 10 points and eight boards.
Rochester started out the game strong, earning a 7-0 lead over the first two minutes of play.
Emory answered with a 14-2 run over the next 3:30 and surged ahead 14-9. Arato was the key cog in the run, scoring eight of her teams points. After one quarter, Emory held a 19-18 lead.
Another seven-point burst in the middle of the second quarter saw Rochester pull ahead 31-28 with 4:15 remaining in the half. Okoniewski did nearly all the damage in the run, scoring six of UR’s seven points, showcasing a wide variety of shots, both inside and outside the paint.
Emory’s Izzy Munson sank a 3-pointer to stop the ‘Jacket run and start a 14-0 Emory surge, which allowed the Eagles to finish off the half with a nine-point lead, up 42-33.
Trailing by six late in the third, Rochester’s Abby Gress sank a 3-pointer and followed it up with a driving layup to pull the Yellowjackets within one. Afterwards, a soft bounce on the rim allowed a jumper from Leverone to fall giving Rochester a 48-47 lead with 1:19 left in the quarter.
Over the final minute of the period, Mariane Auza made a layup and two Martin free throws gave Emory the lead, 51-48, after three quarters.
To start the fourth, Alexis Sestric drained a triple and Leverone made a jump shot to pull Rochester back up by two before Emory scored ten straight points to go up 61-53 with 3:39 remaining. Emory’s run was fueled by two layups by Arato and 3-pointers by Huggins and Daniella Aronsky.
Lindemuth started the late regulation rally with a layup with 2:22 remaining and a minute later, Okoniewski hit a bucket to make the score 61-57.
Martin had a layup fall through with 55 seconds left to put Emory ahead by six, only to see Lindemuth drain her 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions and pull even.
Emory had a chance at the buzzer to win, but Brock’s shot was off target and Sestric secured the rebound.
In overtime, the Eagles were just 1-for-11 from the floor and scored just three points. Rochester shook off a slow start to the extra period and made 2-of-6 shots and was 3-of-4 from the free throw line to finish with the 8-3 edge in overtime.
Saturday’s game was Rochester’s first UAA contest in 679 days after the 2020-21 conference schedule was wiped out due to the pandemic. The contest also was Rochester’s first home game 46 days, dating back to a win against William Smith on November 23rd.
Rochester remains home to start the UAA season, with the Yellowjackets scheduled to host the University of Chicago next Friday night at 7:30 pm. UR entertains Washington-St. Louis two days later at 1 pm.