Spartan Women Drop Heartbreaker at Rochester, 55-53

Jessica McCoy (photo by Jimmy Brantley)
Jessica McCoy (photo by Jimmy Brantley)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Despite leading by 11 at half and rallying to erase a seven-point deficit late, the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team lost a heartbreaker at the University of Rochester, 55-53, on Friday night at the Louis Alexander Palestra.

With the loss, the Spartans fall to 7-6 overall and 1-1 in the University Athletic Association, while the Yellowjackets improve to 7-6 and 1-1 in the UAA. A win by Case would have been its first in Rochester since 2000.

Trailing 51-44 with 40 seconds to play, the Spartans hit three straight three-pointers, including junior wing Brooke Orcutt's (Morrison, Colo./Dakota Ridge) second with 13 seconds left to tie the game at 53. But, Rochester's Ally Zywicki hit a runner in the lane to give the hosts a two-point advantage. Freshman guard Jessica McCoy (Cranford, N.J /Cranford) appeared to tie the game at the buzzer, but her shot was ruled to have left her hand after time had expired.

Orcutt stuffed the stat sheet with game highs of 14 points and four three-pointers to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Joining Orcutt in double-figures was McCoy with 11 points and sophomore post Laura Mummey (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) with 10. Junior Berit Eppard (Englewood, Colo./Cherry Creek) contributed a team-high 11 rebounds, and McCoy contributed seven.

Zywicki finished with 12 points and a game-best nine assists for Rochester. Danielle McNabb scored 11, and Loren Wagner posted a double-double of 10 points and 12 boards.

Rochester fell behind at the 16:24 mark of the first half and trailed 31-20 at halftime. The Spartan lead reached 13 following the opening bucket of the second, but the Yellowjackets rallied in a defensive struggle with a 23-9 run over the next 12 minutes to grab a 43-42 lead with 4:15 left to play. McCoy then hit two free throws to give the Spartans a one-point advantage on their next trip down the floor.

Back to back three-pointers by Zywicki at the 2:36 and 1:27 marks seemingly put the game out of reach before McCoy and Orcutt dramatically tied the game.

The Spartan defense was strong in the first half, holding Rochester to just 18.8% shooting from the field, including 1-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc. The Yellowjackets took a 5-4 lead four minutes into the half, but that would be the only time the Spartans trailed in the opening frame.

The Spartans look to bounce back when they take on No. 8/9 nationally ranked Emory University on Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 p.m. in Atlanta.