WINGATE, N.C. — Shea Coker hit the clutch jumper with 4.7 seconds left and No. 11 LMU held on to escape Cuddy Arena with the 84-83 double overtime win over Wingate Wednesday evening.
LMU improves to 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the South Atlantic Conference with the win. The team is currently ranked 11th in the WBCA / USA Today NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll and 12th in the D2SIDA National Media Poll.
Sydnie Anderson led the way for LMU with a career-high 20 points. Megan Pittman had her fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Karsen Sims added in 11 points while Emily Griffith tied her career high with 10 points.
Wingate was led by Caroline Averette’s 22 points. Danasia Witherspoon (17 points – 10 rebounds) and Marta Miscenko (15 points – 10 rebounds) each had a double-double and Amber Neely added in 12 points.
For the game, LMU out-shot Wingate 42.5 percent to 41.5 percent from the field, 38.5 percent to 25.0 percent from 3-point range and 81.0 percent to 66.7 percent from the free-throw line.
For the first time this season, LMU was out-rebounded as Wingate pulled down 46 to LMU’s 42. Wingate held the advantage in second chance points (14-11), points in the paint (44-32) and points off of turnovers (16-15).
Pittman got things going early as she put LMU ahead 3-0 less than five seconds into the game. Miscenko would cut it to 3-2 a few seconds later before LMU went on an 8-2 run. The Lady Railsplitters led by as much as 10 points before Wingate cut it to 23-15 at the end of the period.
The second quarter saw the two teams battle to a draw as each scored 11 points in the frame. Wingate would cut it to seven points on two occasions, but each time LMU would have an answer and extended the lead to 11 points with 2:21 remaining. A pair of Witherspoon free throws cut the lead to 34-26 at the half.
In the third period, Wingate would again chip at the lead, getting it down to six points before LMU would shut the door. A free throw by Pittman would give LMU their largest lead of the game as they led 54-42 with 57 seconds left in the quarter. An Averette 3-pointer would cut the lead to nine as time expired.
A pair of Emily Griffith free throws put LMU ahead 58-47 with 8:14 remaining in the game. Wingate then went on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 58-55 with 5:59 remaining.
After both teams traded baskets, Anderson hit the running jumper to put the Lady Railsplitters ahead 62-57 with 4:04 left. LMU would extend the lead to 67-60 with 1:54 left only to see the Bulldogs roll off nine unanswered points to claim the 69-67 lead.
Pittman then found Sims open under the basket and Sims banked it in to tie the game 69-69 with 19 seconds left. Neither team was able to score down the stretch and the game went to overtime.
Wingate pulled out to a three-point lead three times in the first overtime, only to see LMU cut it back to one point or tie the game. A Witherspoon layup with 1:25 left put Wingate ahead 76-73.
On the next possession, Sydney Duggins was fouled going for a rebound. She hit one of two free throws. Witherspoon’s shot was then blocked by Pittman and Duggins was fouled again. This time she hit both to tie the game at 76-76 with 27 seconds left.
Wingate called timeout to advance the ball and worked it in to Neely, who hit what many thought was the go-ahead jumper with six seconds left. Sims inbounded the ball to Rachel Griffith who hit the running jumper just inside the 3-point line to tie the game at 78-78 and force a second overtime.
After the teams traded baskets and Wingate went ahead 81-80 on a Witherspoon free throw, Emily Griffith hit the driving jump shot to give LMU the 82-81 lead with 2:05 left. Wingate would answer on the next possession as Averette scored her 22nd point with 1:39 left to put the Bulldogs ahead 83-82.
LMU would have three chances to score over the next 1:25 before Wingate would turn the ball over with 14 seconds left. Lady Railsplitter coach Krystal Evans then subbed in Coker, who had been on the bench in foul trouble. On the next possession, Coker drove into the paint and hit the clutch pull-up jumper with four seconds left to put LMU ahead 84-83.
Wingate called timeout to advance the ball and lobbed it in to Witherspoon, who was blocked by Pittman. Witherspoon then had another chance, but missed and the rebound was corralled by Rachel Griffith and LMU escaped with the win.
LMU hosts Newberry Saturday afternoon in the final game of the 2016 portion of the schedule. Newberry comes into the Turner Arena with a 7-2 overall record and a 3-2 SAC record following a 69-56 win at Mars Hill earlier tonight. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.