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Bombers narrowly escape Engineers with clutch basket

Bombers+graduate+student+guard+Camryn+Coffey+drives+right+towards+the+hoop+as+she+battles+with+defending+Bantam+senior+forward+Emma+Wax.+
Rayahna Tryka
Bombers graduate student guard Camryn Coffey drives right towards the hoop as she battles with defending Bantam senior forward Emma Wax.

The Ithaca College women’s basketball team defeated the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers 61–60 on Jan. 19 in Ben Light Gymnasium.

The Bombers started the game failing to get anything going on offense. Junior forward Annabella Yorio picked off an Engineer guard with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter and proceeded to fight for three rebounds but got nothing to fall.

While the Engineers sprinted out to a 7–2 lead, junior forward Anya Watkins showed off her post skills to keep the Bombers in the game. Watkins scored the first two baskets for the Bombers, with both being hard fought, back down layups from the left block. The Bombers trailed 7–4 with 6:14 remaining in the first quarter.

Trailing 13–8 with 2:31 left in the first quarter, the Bombers decided to give the Engineers a taste of its own medicine. First-year guard Tori Drevna fired the ball into the lane and hit Yorio who cut to the basket and absorbed a tough foul. Yorio hit both free throws and the following possession Yorio followed the same game plan, sinking one of two and making the Engineer lead 14–11 with 1:30 to go in the first quarter.

The first quarter ended with the Engineers in the lead 18–11. The Engineers dominated on defense allowing the Bombers to only convert on three of 16 field goal attempts and took advantage of the Bombers in the paint, tallying 11 free throw attempts.

With 8:16 remaining in the first half, Graduate student guard June Dickson showed off the wheels in an attempt to gain momentum for the Bombers. Dickson pulled down an Engineers miss and sprinted coast to coast to convert a layup and make the Engineers lead 20–15.

With the Bombers trailing 20–18 following a Watkins layup, Dickson keyed in on the ball, picked it off, and finished the possession knotting the score at 20–20 with a layup from the left block.

The Bombers and Engineers traded baskets to keep the score knotted, but it would not stay that way for long. Watkins would hit another back down layup to take the first lead for the Bombers, which was followed by a slick Dickson 3-pointer from the right arc to make the Bombers lead 27–22 with 4:14 remaining in the first half.

The first half would end in a sequence that perfectly emphasized the battle both teams had endured in the first 20 minutes. With nine seconds remaining in the first half, Drevna grabbed a rebound and sprinted down the court for a quick layup. While the Bombers were in the heat of celebration, the Engineers took advantage. Engineer’s graduate student guard Nicole DaPra caught the Bombers sleeping and converted a layup behind the Bombers defense to end the half with the South Hill squad narrowly leading 31–30.

The second half opened with another electric play from Dickson, who hustled back in transition and picked another pass from the Engineers. Dickson dribbled left and found a weak spot in the defense to sink a two point jumper from the arc and made the lead 33–30 with 9:37 to go in the third quarter.

The offensive floodgates seemingly opened for both teams in the third quarter as within the first three minutes the Bombers and Engineers combined for 16 points. Suddenly trailing 41–38 with 6:20 to go in the third, Dickson stepped back from a defender and nailed a three from the top of the arc to even the game at 41.

The third quarter ended with the Bombers showing off incredible hustle as Watkins pulled down a rebound and went up through contact to convert an and one with three tenths of a second on the game clock. Watkins could not convert the free throw and the quarter ended with the Bombers leading 49–47.

Both teams’ offenses started off slowly in the fourth, with only one basket being scored in the first three and a half minutes. The trend changed with 6:30 left in the game when Watkins fought through defenders to grab an offensive rebound and went up for a successful layup to make the score 51–49 Bombers.

With the score knotted at 55 with 3:14 to go, DePra hit a key 3-pointer to take the lead for the Engineers. Despite this, the Bombers were not deterred. Yorio hit a layup to cut it down to one, and Dickson followed that by poaching the ball and hitting a right-handed layup to take the lead with 1:48 to go.

The Engineers gave the Bombers a scare when junior guard Siena Smith converted a layup with 24 seconds to go to take a one point lead. Under the pressure of the clock and the Engineers defense, the Bombers took it down the court and with three seconds to play, senior guard Hannah Polce pulled up and sunk the dagger to secure a 61–60 win.

After a dominant defensive showing from Dickson, she said that defensive effort from the team was a key factor in the victory.

“I mean we can come into every game with defensive intensity,” Dickson said. “That’s why I always think whenever I go into a game, that’s what I can control. The other stuff comes.”

Dickson emphasized the resilience of the team and said the team needed to give 100% the entire game.

“I think we have had a couple of close games in the preseason and even in the season, but I think we’ve shown that we have that grit to pull it out in the end,” Dickson said. “We just gotta bring it all the way.”

The Bombers will next square off against the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds at 2 p.m. Jan. 20 in Ben Light Gymnasium.

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Billy Wood, Sports Editor
Rayahna Tryka, Photographer
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