Despite being eliminated from the playoff picture, the Clarkson University women's basketball team gave crosstown rival St. Lawrence University all it could handle on Tuesday night in Potsdam, NY. However, the Saints were able to overcome 30 turnovers as four players scored in double figures including Lauren Quattrocchi, who turned in a solid 13 points, six rebound, five assist outing.
St. Lawrence (16-7, 12-2) will play for the 2014 Liberty League regular season title on Friday at home against Vassar at 6:00pm. The winner will be the top seed for next week's conference tournament. Meanwhile, Clarkson falls to 8-14 (3-11) despite a game-high 17 points from Brooke Butkovsky.
"Throw out the records when you play against your rivals," said Saints head coach Dan Roiger. "I'm very happy to get out of here with a win tonight against a scrappy, hard-working Clarkson team. It was a credit to our players to hang in and find a way at the end."
Kara McDuffee and Caroline Dalton each had 16 points to lead St. Lawrence, as Dalton finished 5-of-6 from the floor. McDuffee battled back from a tough first half in which she scored only three points while committing five turnovers, helping her team to victory with five crucial free throws in overtime. She and Cassie St. Hilaire each finished with a game-high nine rebounds.
Clarkson came out firing and built a 14-4 lead in the first half, only to see the Scarlet and Brown respond with a 19-4 run capped by a three from McDuffee with 2:11 left before halftime for a 23-18 lead. Though the Saints appeared poised to take a lead into the break despite early struggles, Clarkson's Alyssia Marsal added a lay-up with :09 seconds left, and though she missed the ensuing free throw try for an and-1, Cara Manfredi buried a three before the buzzer to tie the score at 23-23.
Dalton hit back-to-back threes early in the second half to help St. Lawrence out of an early four-point deficit, while Quattrocchi followed suit with 11:55 to play for a 34-32 lead. The two teams exchanged scores, and each time St. Lawrence pulled ahead, Clarkson responded with a big offensive possession, owning the interior and keeping the game within striking distance.
With the game tied at 47-47, Kelly Legg hit two key free throws for St. Lawrence to regain the lead, only to see Butkovsky knock down a jumper from the elbow to tie the game with :35 seconds left. St. Lawrence squandered a chance to take the lead in the final seconds, as Legg had to rush a lay-in try to beat the shot clock, and Clarkson's desperation half-court shot for the win missed to send the game to overtime tied 49-49.
Allison Cady kick-started the extra period for St. Lawrence with a three pointer, and Clarkson never quite recovered. The Saints would have the lead the entire overtime session, as they made 11 of their first 12 free throw attempts to help seal the victory. Though Ashley Loggins pulled Clarkson within one at 56-55 with 1:43 to play, she turned the ball over on the ensuing Clarkson possession and McDuffee converted a lay-up en route to the 65-59 victory.
"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times today with turnovers," admitted Coach Roiger. "When we took care of the ball, we were pretty good, but we only did so for about four minutes in the first half and during overtime. In that nine minute stretch, we scored 29 points."
Despite committing 10 more turnovers than Clarkson, the Saints finished with a 23-13 edge in points off turnovers. Clarkson closed with a 34-22 edge in points in the paint and 15-7 second chance points.