Case Western Reserve University senior guard/forward Hillary Hellmann connected on five three-pointers to become the program's all-time leader, and freshman guard Alyssa Hyland hit a long game-tying three point attempt as the clock expired in regulation to send the game into overtime, as the Spartans defeated Denison University 91-84 in overtime in Granville, Ohio on Tuesday night.
With the win, the Spartans have opened the season with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2012-13. Denison dropped to 2-2 with the loss.
Hellmann finished the game with a season-high 29 points, shooting 11-of-18 overall from the floor and five-of-nine from behind the three point line. She ended the game with 183 career three pointers, passing the previous program record of 179, held by both Jasmine Rowan and Evy Iocono.
Graduate student forward Kara Hageman added 21 points and eight rebounds, shooting seven-for-11 from the floor, while Hyland finished the game with 13 points, including three three-pointers. Graduate student forward Mercedes Jones was also in double-figures for the Spartans on Tuesday, finishing the game with 10 points, while junior guard Alicia Marie Gonzales led all players with seven assists.
Entering the game needing one three pointer to match the record, Hellmann wasted little time, giving the Spartans a 5-0 lead with 8:47 remaining in the first quarter, and then setting the new record with her second of the game to put CWRU ahead 8-2 with 7:23 left in the opening frame. The first quarter would end with the score knotted at 18-18, and neither team would take more than a one-possession lead until Hellmann's third three of the game and an and-one by Hageman helped the Spartans take a 36-30 lead with 1:08 to play in the half, before heading into the break with a 38-33 lead.
The Spartans led by as many as six points in the third quarter and as late as 1:24 remaining in the period after a jumper by sophomore forward Rebecca Rowlands, but the Big Red closed the gap back to a point, 58-57, by the start of the fourth.
The fourth quarter would be a back-and-forth battle, with Dension taking a lead with 3:14 to play, and holding it until the final seconds of regulation. Down by three with two seconds on the clock, the Spartans needed a last second long range shot to even the score and send the game into overtime. Gonzales inbounded the ball to Hyland, who launched a long three, connecting on the shot to knot the score at 75-75 and send the game into overtime.
Each team exchanged baskets to start overtime, before a 5-0 run gave the Spartans an 82-77 lead with 1:57 to play in the game. After the Big Red cut the lead back to three, Hellmann connected on her fifth three of the game to push the Spartans' advantage to 85-79. Hageman converted all four of her free throws in the final minute, helping CWRU close out the seven-point victory.
The Spartans had their best shooting day of the season so far on Tuesday, connecting on 51.7% of their shots (31-of-60) and shot 47.4% (nine-of-19) on three-point attempts in the game.
The Spartans will return to action on Sunday, November 25th, facing John Carroll in their home-opener at Horsburgh Gymnasium. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.