Fairfield, Conn. / William H. Pitt Center - Gabrielle Washington hit a desperation three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game and Sacred Heart went on to win in overtime 70-66 against the Robert Morris University women's basketball team at the William H. Pitt Center Monday night. The Colonials finish the regular season at 17-12 overall and 11-7 in the Northeast Conference wrapping up the four-seed in the upcoming 2012 Northeast Conference Championships Presented by Ruby Tuesday. Sacred Heart wins their fourth regular season NEC title since 2006 finishing the year 22-7 overall and 15-3 in league games.
Trailing through all of the second half, RMU took a 55-54 lead when April Williams (Bronx, N.Y. / Murry Bergtraum (Monroe College)) splashed a three-pointer from the right corner with 1:51 left in the second half. Williams built the lead to three-points as she hit a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds showing.
During the final possession of regulation, an in-bounds play put the ball in the hands of Washington who missed a three-pointer from the right wing. She chased down her own rebound, however, and dribbled back out to the corner where she buried a turn-around three-pointer as time expired to knot the game at 54-54.
After trading baskets in overtime, the Pioneers took a five-point lead on free throws by Callan Taylor and an and-one play by Morgan Merriman. A three-pointer by Artemis Spanou (Rhodes, Greece / Nea Smyrni (Greek National Team)) cut the margin to two points but Sacred Heart made five-of-six free throws down the stretch to secure the four-point victory.
Spanou scored the first nine points of the game for Robert Morris, spurring a 12-0 run during which she scored six points. That allowed the Colonials to take a 16-8 lead just over nine minutes into the game. The Pioneers answered with an 8-0 surge to tie that score as Ericka Norman scored on a pair of jumpers.
A pair of free throws by Gabrielle Washington gave Sacred Heart the lead, 20-18. The Colonials tallied the next 10 points highlighted by a pair of treys by Campbell to give RMU the lead, 28-20, with 4:29 to play. On the next possession, junior point guard Briannica Tye (Aurora, Ill. / West Aurora (Mineral Area)) picked up her third four of the game.
With Tye on the bench, RMU struggled on the offensive end of the floor and Sacred Heart took advantage with a 12-3 run to carry a 32-31 lead into the break.
A slow start to the second half saw the Colonials fall into a 41-34 hole 6:26 into the first half. An offensive putback by Anna Gailite (Riga, Latvia / Riga Secondary #47) was followed by a steal and lay-in and three-pointer by Williams to cut the margin to one point, 41-40, with 11:14 to play.
That, however, was when Washington heated up and helped Sacred Heart push the lead to seven points with 5:53 to play. Five points by Josette Campbell (London, England / Notre Dame Prep (NW Florida State)) set up the final dramatic moments.
Spanou earned her 19th double-double of the year with 24 points and 13 rebounds, both game-highs. Campbell tacked on 14 points and had six blocks for an RMU team that had 12 in the game. Williams chipped in with 13 points.
Washington had 23 for the Pioneers. Callan Taylor chipped in with 17 while Merriman and Ericka Norman had 13 and 10, respectively.
The Colonials will take on Saint Francis Saturday, March 3, at the Charles L. Sewall Center in first round action of the 2012 Northeast Conference Championships Presented by Ruby Tuesday. Game time is yet to be determined.