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Bledsoe Hits Clutch Free Throws in Regulation as Cardinals Defeat Williams 74-65 in OT

Photo by Jonas Powell '18
Photo by Jonas Powell '18

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Down by two with only :00.8 remaining in regulation, Maddie Bledsoe '18 went to the line and hit a pair of clutch free throws to send the game into overtime, where the Wesleyan University women's basketball team would outscore Williams College 14-5 in the final five minutes to seal a thrilling 74-65 win over its Little Three archrival. Bledsoe finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season.

With the win, Wesleyan improves to 6-2 overall while handing the Ephs their third loss of the season as they drop to 6-3. Saturday's game, which featured seven lead changes and four ties, did not count towards the NESCAC standings.

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The Cardinals jumped out to a 7-2 lead following a successful three-point play by Tara Berger '20 and would increase their lead to nine (16-7) after a layup by Bledsoe at the 3:36 mark.
  • A basket by Maggie Meehan cut the deficit to six with 1:08 remaining in the first and Wesleyan would go on to take a 21-15 lead entering the second quarter.
  • With 6:31 left in the half, a three by Kadijah Mathews '18 off an assist from Berger put the home team ahead by 10.
  • The Ephs eased their way back and got within one with 3:14 to play but a 6-0 run by Wesleyan capped off by a layup from Bledsoe put the home team ahead 35-28 just over a minute later.
  • The Cardinals led by as much as nine before a buzzer-beater by Amanni Fernandez cut the Wesleyan lead to 39-32 at the break.

SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS:

  • In the third quarter, the Cardinals slowly saw their 10-point lead slip away as Williams went on a 14-2 run to enter the fourth up 48-46.
  • With 8:42 remaining in regulation, Maeve Vitale '18 hit one from behind-the-arc to end the run and put Wesleyan back on top, 49-48.
  • The game went back-and-forth throughout the fourth quarter and a free throw by Kristin Fechtelkotter with :19 on the clock gave the visitors a 60-58 lead.
  • A missed jumper by Wesleyan was rebounded by Emily Peckham. She was fouled immediately and sent to the line with :11 remaining, but missed both foul shots. Wesleyan got the ball back and with seconds remaining, Bledsoe drove to the hoop and was fouled with just :00.8 on the clock. She hit both foul shots to tie the game.
  • The Ephs had one last attempt, a deep three from the corner that missed as the game went into overtime.
  • Williams had its chance to put the game away in the final minute but went 1-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch.

OVERTIME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • With the momentum in Wesleyan's favor, Olivia Gorman '19 converted a three-point play in the opening seconds of OT.
  • The Cardinals would lead the entire overtime. Chynna Bailey '19 hit a crucial basket in the paint to put the home team ahead by five (67-62) with :58 remaining.
  • Wesleyan went 8-for-9 in the final five minutes of play to seal the impressive victory.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

  • The Cardinals held a commanding 55-39 edge in rebounding and shot 35.6% (21-59) from the floor and 38.1% (8-21) from downtown. Williams shot 32.9% (25-76) from the field and just 11.1% (2-18) from behind-the-arc.
  • Bledsoe scored 22 points on 5-of-7 shooting. She also went 9-of-11 from the line and dished out a team-high three assists. Berger added a double-double as well with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while leading all players with four blocks. Gorman and Vitale finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
  • Fechtelkotter dropped 22 points and pulled in 12 boards while blocking three shots, and Fernandez and Meehan each added 12 points. Lauren Vostal scored nine points, grabbed seven boards and recorded six steals.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:

  • Saturday's win snapped Wesleyan's 18-game losing streak against Williams.
  • Prior to today, the Cardinals last win was at home during the 2008-09 season.

UP NEXT:

  • The Cardinals are off for the winter break and will return to action Friday, Dec. 29 as they head to Nashville, Tenn. to compete in the Music City Classic. Wesleyan will play Dubuque on Friday (2 p.m.) and Goucher on Saturday, Dec. 30 (2 p.m.).