MIAMI, Fla. – Finding itself down by as much as 10 points in regulation, the Holy Cross women's basketball team rallied back to top Morgan State in overtime, 73-66, in the consolation round of the Miami Holiday Classic at the BankUnited Center. With the final, the Crusaders collect a record of 7-6 on the season while the Bears move to 2-9. Sophomore Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) highlighted the team's win with respective double-doubles, 10 points and a career-best 11 assists from Malone and 19 points and 10 rebounds by Lepley.
The lead changed five times in the opening seven minutes of action with Morgan State taking the first two-possession edge, 15-8, at 12:12. Holy Cross outscored the Bears 9-6 over the next four minutes of action, but remained down, 21-17. Two three-pointers from freshman Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) pulled the Crusaders within one-point, 31-30, with 3:35 to go in the first but Morgan State held on to the lead in the final three minutes as Holy Cross found itself down 38-33 at the break. The Crusaders shot 44.8 percent (13 of 29) from the floor over the first 20 minutes as Lepley led all scorers with nine points.
The Bears moved ahead by 10 points, 47-37, with 16:12 on the clock in the second half, outscoring Holy Cross 9-4 in the opening minutes. The Crusaders continued to stay down by two possessions at the midway point of the second, 54-46, unable to find any consistency on offense. Three three-point shots made by sophomore Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) highlighted a 13-0 run for Holy Cross as the squad took a 61-57 lead with just under four minutes to play in regulation. The teams battled back and forth for the final ticks, trading baskets and leads. Morgan State scored two unanswered baskets to take a 66-63 lead with 14 seconds to go before Smith sank her fifth three-point shot with four seconds left to send the game into overtime, 66-66.
Lepley and Malone scored the opening two baskets in the overtime period, giving the Crusaders a 70-66 advantage. A free throw by Malone and a layup by fellow sophomore Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) sealed the team's come-from-behind victory, 73-66, as Morgan State did not score again in the period.
In the game, Holy Cross shot 40 percent from the floor (28 of 70) while Morgan State shot 36.6 percent (26 of 71). The Bears won the rebounding battle, 47-44 as Lepley led the Crusaders with 10 boards. Smith added 19 Crusader points, 17 coming in the second half and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Morgan State was led by Dekeisha Mathis with 16 points.
Holy Cross returns to action in the New Year, facing Dartmouth on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass.