CRUSADERS ADVANCE AFTER OUSTING COKER IN AN OVERTIME PLAYOFF THRILLER
Monday, February 27, 2012
CRUSADERS ADVANCE AFTER OUSTING COKER IN AN OVERTIME PLAYOFF THRILLER
Students rush the floor after NGU's overtime win over Coker!

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville University women’s basketball team won its first ever Conference Carolinas tournament game on Monday night, ousting the Cobras of Coker College 67-64 in an overtime classic.

Coker jumped to an early lead hitting its first 4 shots, sprinting out to a 9-2 lead. The Crusaders struggled from the field in the first half of play, shooting just 20% from the floor (5-25). The Cobras shot just 30.4% (7-23) from the field in the opening half, but carried a 20-14 lead into intermission.

“We were a little rusty,” remarked Jayne Arledge. “The first half was rough after not playing for a couple weeks, but we came out and played well in the second half. We’re excited to head to Barton on Thursday night for the next round.”

The Crusaders shook off the playoff jitters in the second half, opening the period on an 18-8 run which lasted 6 minutes, earning them their biggest lead of the game at 7. The lead was short lived as the Cobras quickly regained control with a 12-5 run of their own, giving them a 5-point lead.

With 7:44 left, Coker took what seemed like a commanding 7-point lead, but NGU had some gas left in the tank. The Crusaders stormed back to tie the game at 49 with 4:48, the fifth of the game. After a 4-minute drought in which each team failed to score, NGU’s Alisha Hope put the Crusaders up by 2.

After Coker tied the game for the fourth time, NGU gained possession poised to take the final shot of regulation. The Crusaders had two chances under the basket in the dwindling seconds, but were unable to capitalize, sending the game into overtime.

After a slow first half, Christina Carlis flexed her muscle. Carlis accounted for 20 of NGU’s 41 points in the second period. Karly Stache, who scored 16 points and was 5-8 from behind the arc, paced Carlis, and Krisceda Cotton registered her 9th double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“This game was very exciting and had a little bit of, blood, injuries, comebacks, sweat, everything you would want in a playoff basketball game,” said Arledge. “Our fans were awesome and helped pull us through.”

In overtime, Coker won the tip, but came up empty on its first possession. The Crusaders came seconds away from turning the ball over on a shot clock violation, but Karly Stache knocked down a fade away three pointer as time expired to give NGU a 58-53 lead less than a minute into overtime.

Coker once again battled back and scored the next 7 points, to take a 4 point lead with 2:32 left in the extra period. True to form the Crusaders answered the challenge, and with 1:13 left, Christina Carlis tied the game at 64. Courtney Friddle, then put NGU on top 66-64 with her biggest basket of her young NGU career. Karly Stache would add a free throw with 12 seconds left in the game, and Coker failed to get a shot off in the final seconds, giving NGU the win, in an instant classic.

Statistically, the Crusaders were solid in the second half, shooting 45.2% from the field, and 57.1% in overtime. For the game NGU was 36.5% from the field, but a stellar 63.6% from behind the three point arch. The telling stats in Monday’s game were in points off turnovers, and points in paint. The Crusaders dominated both, scoring 26 points on 28 Coker turnovers, while scoring 26 points in the lane.

The Crusaders survived the first round upset scare, and are preparing to hit the road for the semi-finals. They will travel to Barton College on Thursday night for a 7pm showdown with the Bulldogs. Barton won the only other meeting with NGU this season, 75-64, less than a month ago.