Free Throws Lift Women's Basketball to Overtime Win

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Freshman Kristen Belyea scored a career-high 22 points and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's basketball team held on to capture a 74-67 overtime victory over Anderson University Wednesday night in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference play.

The Engineers (2-5, 1-1 HCAC) battled from a 10-point halftime deficit behind 12 points from Belyea (Mahomet, Ill./Mahomet Seymour) and nine from senior Lauren Meadows (Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf), who finished the game with 11 points.

Both teams traded baskets to open the extra frame until RHIT went on an 11-0 run, kickstarted by a Belyea triple.

The freshman drained 4-of-7 shots from behind the arc in the contest.

The Engineers completed the final two minutes of overtime a perfect 10 for 10 from the free-throw line (Meadows 4-4, Jamie Loving 2-2, Belyea 2-2, and Carrie Morris 2-2) and Loving (Normal, Ill./Normal West) made a layup down the stretch to put the game out of reach for the Ravens (0-6, 0-2 HCAC).

Anderson forced the extra frame when Cori Connor was fouled with 1.4 seconds left in regulation. Connor made one of her two free throws to send the game into overtime at 57-all.

RHIT freshman Abbie Marshall (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) added 10 points and five rebounds and classmate Loving  finished with seven points and nine rebounds, both career highs.

Benefiting from Anderson foul trouble, the Engineers used the free-throw line in the second half to cut into the Raven's lead. Rose-Hulman reached the foul line 25 times in the second frame, making 19 shots before hitting 10 more in the overtime. The Engineers finished the game 30 for 38 to shoot 78.9 percent from the charity stripe.

With Anderson holding a five-point lead (44-39) with 10 minutes to play, junior Sheree Williams (Bluffton, S.C./Bluffton) drained a critical 3 from the wing to cut the deficit to two. Williams followed the shot with two free throws one play later to tie the game for the first time since the 7-minute mark in the first half (16-16). 

Anderson retained a slim 54-53 lead with 2:38 left in regulation despite a triple and two free throws from Belyea and a pair of Marshall foul shots. Meadows would then connect on a shot in the lane to give RHIT its first lead since the 8-minute mark at 55-53.

Anderson's Connor answered with a 15-footer before Morris (Altadena, Calif./Mayfield) found Marshall on the block for the go-ahead layup (57-56) with 31.8 seconds left.

RHIT's Kelsey Ploof (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) came up with the defensive rebound after a Ravens' missed shot, but a Engineers' turnover gave Anderson the ball back, allowing Connor to connect for the second of her two free throws to force the extra frame.

Marshall, who went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, finished with three of the Engineers' 14 assists and Ploof added six points and six boards. Freshman Josie Schmidt (Eighty Four, Pa./Ringgold) chipped in seven points, three rebounds, two assists and a block in her first career start.

Anderson's Jenna Wittenberg led all scorers with 29 points on 10-of-25 shooting, including a 9 for 12 performance from the free-throw line. Connor added 13 points.

The Engineers return to Hulbert Arena Saturday for an HCAC matchup with Manchester, set for 2 p.m. with the men's contest to follow.