Case Western Reserve University junior guard/forward Hillary Hellmann scored a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the final 3:15 of the game, to help the Spartans overcome a late deficit to defeat the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens 74-73 in the final game of the David Wells Classic in Claremont, California on Saturday night.
With the win, the Spartans split their two games at the tournament and improved to 2-2 overall. Pomona-Pitzer dropped to 1-2 on the season with the loss.
Hellmann made seven-of-12 shots from the floor, including three-of-six from three point range, and went eight-of-10 from the line, while adding 10 rebounds for her second double-double through four games this season. Junior guard Kendall McConico scored 17 points with four rebounds, four assists and four steals, and freshman guard Emily Todd added 13 points in the game.
The Spartans scored the first nine points in Saturday's game, and jumped out to a 16-2 lead after a layup by McConico with 4:40 to play in the first quarter. A late run by the Sagehens closed the gap to within five points, 19-14, with 1:18 left in the opening stanza, but a three-pointer by Hellmann extended the team's lead to 22-14 heading into the second quarter. Case Western Reserve maintained its lead in the second quarter, and carried a 36-28 advantage by the halftime break.
Hellmann led the Spartans with nine first half points, shooting three-of-four from the floor, including two-for-two from three point range.
The Spartans notched five of the first seven points in the second half to take an 11 point lead, 41-30, with 7:47 left in the third quarter after a Hellmann layup after an offensive rebound. However, a 9-0 run by the Sagehens pulled them within two with 4:50 to play in the third, and Pomona-Pitzer would take its first lead of the game, 49-48, on a layup by Keilani Ikehara to end the period. Back-to-back threes to start the fourth by Alexa Bayangos extended the Sagehens' lead to seven early in the final quarter. CWRU would keep the game close, and a 9-0 run with just over three minutes left in the game put the Spartans back ahead, with Hellmann tying the game at 66-66 on a layup with 1:59 to go, and giving the team a 69-66 lead on a three-pointer with 1:29 left.
After Pomona-Pitzer answered with a three of their own to tie the game again with 1:03 remaining, Hellmann was fouled on a shot attempt and knocked down both free throws to push CWRU back out in front with 37 seconds left, 71-69. Hellmann would convert two more free throws with 31 seconds left to put the Spartans ahead by four. Pomona-Pitzer's Sophie True hit a jumper to pull the Sagehens back within two, and after McConico was fouled and made one of the two resulting free throws to increase the Spartans' lead to 74-71, Anita Romero hit a jumper for Pomona-Pitzer to cut the lead back to a point. A turnover and a foul by the Spartans put the Sagehens on the line with five second remaining and a chance to take a late lead, but Ikehara would miss both free throws, and CWRU would hold on for the victory.
Romero (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Emma Godfrey (16 points, 12 rebounds) would each tally double-doubles in the game for Pomona-Pitzer, and Ikehara added eight points and 11 assists.
The Spartans will wrap-up a four-game road stretch on Wednesday, November 29th, when the team travels to Ada, Ohio to face seventh-ranked Ohio Northern University. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.