NEWBERRY - It took five minutes of overtime, but the Newberry women’s basketball team held off a second half comeback by the No. 14 Limestone Saints to earn a 67-63 upset overtime victory on Saturday inside of Eleazer Arena.
Saturday was the second time in the 2012-13 season the Wolves defeated a top-20 side, as the Wolves defeated the No. 20 Lander Lady Bearcats on November 13th.
Newberry (7-2) dominated the opening half as the Wolves jumped out to an early 11-point lead after sophomore Haylee Lepaio (Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia) connected on a jump shot off a pass from fellow-sophomore Samantha Creed (Montmorency, Victoria, Australia). The Wolves run over Limestone (6-1) continued as the lead soon reached 13 points with a little under ten minutes remaining in the opening half on a made free throw by junior Ellie Gleeson (Albury, New South Wales, Australia).
With a 25-12 lead over the Saints, Newberry and Limestone exchanged baskets over the next few minutes until at 2:45 in the first half the Saints had cut the Wolves lead down to nine. After both sides missed offensive opportunities to close out the opening half, junior Tasia Holdorf (Anchorage, Alaska) corralled a Newberry miss and scored on a layup attempt to give Newberry an 11-point halftime lead at 32-21.
The second half swung Limestone’s way as The Saints quickly cut the Wolves lead down to three and took the lead five minutes into the second half on a 3-pointer from Maria Young. The two teams exchanged leads for much of the second half, with the Saints scoring 18 points off Newberry turnovers in the second period. With 2:37 remaining in the opening half, the Wolves took a two-point lead on a pair of made free throws by Lepaio.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Wolves and Saints exchanged misses, before a traveling violation against the Wolves gave Limestone the ball with less than 30 seconds remaining. Out of a timeout, Limestone’s Ashley Robinson drove received a past in the paint from Stephanie Hayes and converted the layup to tie the game at 55-55. The Wolves had an open opportunity at a game winning layup with two seconds on the clock, but the layup skipped out of the basket pushing the game to overtime.
Newberry opened overtime with six-straight points, on layups and free throws from Creed, Gleeson and senior Kendra Brown (Swansea, S.C.). Limestone answered with four-straight points, before with a little over a minute remaining Creed hit a 3-pointer to give Newberry a 64-61 lead. The final minute came down to free throws as a pair of Alicia Brookins cut Newberry’s lead to one. Brown and Gleeson then converted one free throw each to put the Wolves up 66-63. The Wolves secured the victory when Hayes missed a 3-point chance for Limestone and Lepaio hit a free throw with one second on the clock for the Wolves.
Lepaio recorded her 18th career double-double as she tallied 18 points and pulled down a career high 18 rebounds. Lepaio also added two assists and a blocked shot to her stat line. Creed finished with 17 points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds for the Wolves. Pearson added eight points and five rebounds, while Gleeson added seven points and eight rebounds. Holdorf finished the afternoon with six points and a season-high seven rebounds. Holdorf’s seven boards are the most by the Alaskan since joining the Newberry squad.
Newberry outshot Limestone from the field and from beyond the 3-point arc, while also outrebounding the Saints 57-42. Newberry also finished the day with a 16-11 advantage in the assist column.
The Wolves wrap up the pre-holiday break schedule on Monday at 6 p.m., when the Fighting Koalas of Columbia College travel to Newberry for a showdown with the Wolves at Eleazer Arena.