College starts season with a tough last-second loss

Senior guard Karen Lassoni drives toward the basket. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Assistant)
Senior guard Karen Lassoni drives toward the basket. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Assistant)

Women’s basketball was back in action at the College on Saturday as the Lions played a thrilling game against Stevens Institute of Technology.

The Lions battled back against the Ducks in the second half only to lose a nail-biter in the final seconds, 48-46. The loss snaps a 13-game winning streak at home for the Lions.

With six minutes left in regulation freshman center Candice Vigo shook off freshman jitters, and hit one of her four foul shots to tie the game at 41.

“I really try not to think about it. I just try to focus on my release and keeping may elbow in,” Vigo said.

Sophomore guard/forward Hannah Tait followed this score up by driving into the lane, scoring the basket, and drawing the foul. Tait sank the foul shot and put the Lions up 44-41.

The Ducks stayed strong and the score was tied yet again with 1:55 left in the game. The game would not stay tied for long as Stevens’ senior guard Sarah Gehring drew a foul and made both shots to put the Ducks up 48-46.

In the following minute the Lions got an opportunity at two shots but missed. All hope seemed lost until junior forward Kelsey Kutch swatted the ball away from the Ducks.

Junior guard Keri Washington snatched up the loose ball and the Lions got a chance for one last shot. The crowd watched as Tait attempted another clutch shot, but this time it came up a few inches short and bounced off the front of the rim.

Candace Vigo makes a jump shot. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Assistant)
Candace Vigo makes a jump shot. (Tom O’Dell / Photo Assistant)

“It’s one possession, it’s one shot, it’s one box out. Any possession in that game could have changed the game for us,” said head coach Dawn Henderson.

The Lions struggled offensively in the first-half of play and the Ducks held the momentum. Then, in the last two minutes of the first half the Lions started to heat up.

The Lions finished the last two minutes on a 6-0 run started by sophomore guard Katie Occhipinti. Tait finished the run with a buzzer-beating three-point shot.

The Lions came out in the second half with all the momentum they gained toward the end of the first half.

The Lions received a strong boost from Vigo, who was 4-8 with 8 points from the field and 4-5 from the free-throw line in the second half.

“It was pretty much my team just encouraging me to play hard and they directed me,” said Vigo. “Coach helped me play hard too and juts kept me through it.”

Vigo’s performance was accompanied by a strong defensive performance that seemed to get better as the game went along.

The Lions forced turnovers, blocked shots, dove for balls, and put all their effort into shrinking that nine-point deficit from half time.

“Defensively — especially for the game — to hold a team to 48 points, that’s what we need to do,” Henderson said.

The Lions will look to rebound against Moravian College on Nov. 18.