Lady Eagles fall in double-OT thriller at home
N.C. Central’s Jessica Freeman went to the well and dipped big buckets for the Lady Eagles until the shots dried up in double overtime against Bethune-Cookman.
It took the Wildcats an extra 10 minutes beyond regulation to finally scratch the Eagles in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on Saturday. The visitors from Daytona Beach, Fla., beat NCCU 66-60.
Freeman played every second of the game and led all scorers with 25 points.
Freeman hit a 3-pointer that tied the game with 15 seconds left in regulation.
Bethune-Cookman’s Chastity René Taylor missed on the other end, sending the game to overtime.
Freeman has been making shots in the clutch all season to give her team hope during desperate times.
“It wasn’t enough to get the win,” Freeman said. “It was enough to get us in overtime, but that’s not going to show up on our record. We’ve just got to learn to do the little things.”
Bethune-Cookman outscored NCCU 8-2 in the final overtime session. Freeman scored that lone basket for NCCU.
“We just came up short — some free throws, some rebounds, got to be able to be a little bit more efficient at the end of the game, knowing what our second option is,” NCCU coach Vanessa Taylor said.
The scouting report is out on Freeman’s ability to makes shots from downtown, so she’s getting double-teamed, Vanessa Taylor said, adding that Freeman’s teammates need to understand that and take advantage of those situations.
NCCU is at the bottom of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in scoring, Freeman’s penchant for filling it up notwithstanding. The Lady Eagles are near the league’s cellar in turnovers and assists, explaining some of NCCU’s scoring problems.
Against Bethune-Cookman (8-15, 5-6 MEAC), NCCU junior Khyra Conerly fouled out with 26 seconds left in regulation. Lady Eagles junior Racquel Davis picked up her fifth foul in the first overtime period. That left a younger NCCU squad on the floor for double overtime, but that’s not why NCCU lost, Vanessa Taylor said.
“It’s next man up for us,” Coach Taylor said.
With 21 seconds left in the first overtime, NCCU freshman Morgan Jones tied the game with a free throw.
Chastity René Taylor missed a jumper with 3 seconds on the clock , extending the game five more minutes.
Bethune-Cookman’s Kailyn Williams (12 points) and Chastity René Taylor (16 points) each played all 50 minutes.
The loss dropped NCCU (8-14, 3-6 MEAC) further below .500, but that’s not the main issue right now, NCCU senior Tiffany Gary said.
“If I focus on that, if the team focuses on that, then that’s just going to bring us down,” Gary said. “We’ve just got to get the next win that’s in front of us.”
NCCU hosts Florida A&M on Monday (5:30 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).