With the help of some late-game heroics, the women’s basketball team ended its 5-game losing streak by stunning twentieth-ranked Nova Southeastern 73-70 on national television in CBS College Sports Network’s Game of the Week.
As the Mocs prepared to inbound the ball from underneath their own basket, facing a 61-58 deficit with just over three seconds to play, head coach Holly Borchers called a play from the sideline.
“That’s a play we run,” Borchers said. “We just usually run it to get a layup.”
Borchers and the Mocs did not get the layup they were looking for. Instead, senior guard Melanie Ducott was forced to attempt a 50-foot prayer as time expired.
The shot miraculously fell through the basket to tie the game as the clock read all zeros, forcing overtime and sending Jenkins Field House into hysteria.
Borchers said the late-game execution, an area that has been lacking for the Mocs this year, gave her team momentum heading into the overtime period.
“We’ve been in that situation a bunch of times this year and just haven’t been able to quite come up with the right play,” Borchers said. “But in this situation, we did and that confidence really carried over into overtime.”
The Mocs may not have been in a position to force overtime if not for a dominating performance by senior Kirsten McIntyre. The six-foot forward finished the game with a career-high 28 points to go with her 12 rebounds.
“I think she willed us to that position,” Borchers said. “Her game may not be the prettiest, but she is very determined. We were sending three or four people back on defense and she out-rebounded Nova by herself.”
McIntyre’s presence was particularly important in the first half as she scored 14 of the Mocs’ 24 points to keep them within striking distance. The first half ended with the Sharks leading 29-24.
FSC came out hot in the second half as Ducott and McIntyre led a 14-4 run over the first four minutes of the half to give the Mocs a 38-33 lead.
After a timeout, Nova struck back with a 16-2 run of their own during the game’s next eight minutes to give the Sharks a 49-40 lead. Sensing the game might be getting out of reach, Borchers called a timeout.
“I just gave them a chance to settle down and tell them to keep themselves together,” Borchers said.
From there, the Mocs began to fight back. After a Ducott three and two free throws by Alexis Hochstetler pulled FSC to within 58-56 with 1:30 remaining, the Mocs defense came up with a huge stop.
Down by two in their final possession, the Mocs went back to McIntyre once more. She bulled her way through the lane and drew a foul. McIntrye calmly drilled both free throws to tie the game at 58, setting up a play that is still troubling for Borchers.
Nova guard Taylor Buie drove the lane and converted a layup as she got fouled. She sank the free throw for the conventional three-point play.
“We let the girl drive right and come back left, which was the scout on her,” Borchers said. “If we would’ve played that right we never would’ve been in that situation.”
Luckily for Borchers and the Mocs, Ducott’s miraculous shot forced overtime. The Mocs outscored Nova 12-9 in the extra period to score the upset.
The win did come at a cost for the Mocs, however. Senior forward Tracy Fosterling was lost for the season after breaking her ankle in the opening minutes of the game.
“It’s a huge factor. She’s a huge part of our team,” Borchers said. “It’s going to be another case where everyone is going to have to pick it up just a little bit more and do something that maybe they haven’t done before.”
Despite the loss of Fosterling, the Mocs were still able to pull off the dramatic win. The fact that they were able to do so on national television was icing on the cake for Borchers and her team.
“It’s great. Everything about it is positive except for Tracy Fosterling getting hurt,” Borchers said. “But for Melanie to hit that shot on national TV, it’s pretty cool. That’s probably a memory that she’ll have for the rest of her life.”
See more photos from the Mocs’ win over Nova Southeastern: