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Denison outlasts Wittenberg in double overtime

Zyah Beal  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Zyah Beal | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio--  Lauren Longbrake's put-back with 0.9 seconds left in double overtime sent Denison to a 78-76 victory over Wittenberg on Saturday afternoon at Livingston Gymnasium.  With the win, Denison improves to 11-7 and 7-3 in the North Coast Athletic Conference, keeping them in second place in the league standings.

The Big Red led throughout most of the game but the Tigers caught fire late in the third quarter and took a one-point lead into the fourth.  Wittenberg's Mckenna Baker drilled a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth, giving the Tigers a six-point lead with just over six minutes to play.

Wittenberg pushed the lead to seven with 3:18 left in the fourth but after two misses and consecutive offensive rebounds, Denison's Zyah Beal converted a 3-point play after being fouled by Riley Culver.

Another miss by Wittenberg was followed by a give-and-go play from Lauren Hofer to Alison Schafer that made it 57-55 in favor of the Tigers.  Hofer continued Denison's comeback bid and with 24 seconds left in regulation, she broke a 57-57 tie with a 3-point play, giving DU a 60-57 lead.  Wittenberg's Delaney Williams gave her team new life with a step-back 3-pointer tying the game at 60-60 with five seconds left.

The Big Red drew up a play and got the ball inside to Longbrake but her shot at the buzzer fell off the rim, forcing overtime.

After playing the first overtime to a draw, Wittenberg quickly took a four-point lead in the second overtime.  Once again it was Beal who was there to take the big shot for Denison.  The sophomore squared up and drilled a 3-pointer from the elbow to get her team to within one.  Two misses by Wittenberg on consecutive trips down the court gave Schafer a 3-point look with 45 seconds left that fell, putting Denison back on top, 76-74.

On Wittenberg's ensuing possession, Korynne Berner was fouled by Hofer with 15 seconds left.  Berner made both, tying the game at 76-76.  After a Denison timeout, Val Province took the potential game-winner with three seconds left but Longbrake was there for the offensive rebound and the put-back with 0.9 seconds left.  Wittenberg was unable to get a shot attempt on its final possession.

Beal finished with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting.  She was 3-for-3 from 3-point range while leading the team with three steals.

Schafer and Hofer followed with 17 points and both tied for the team lead with seven rebounds.  Longbrake added 13 points and five rebounds. 

Wittenberg was led by Kristie Kalis' 19 points.  Williams followed with 18 and Berner added 10.

Denison shot 46 percent from the field (30-for-66) and the Tigers connected on 47 percent of its shots from the floor (30-of-64).  DU held a 10-7 advantage on the offensive glass and its 15-4 differential in second-chance scoring ended up being the difference in the game.

The Big Red travels to Hiram on Wednesday (Jan. 23) for an 8 p.m. tip-off against the Terriers.