The women’s basketball team (7—1) overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to pull off a win against visiting Baruch College (4—3) by a score of 64-59 in Ben Light Gymnasium this afternoon.
The Bombers, ranked no. 29 in the nation this week by d3hoops.com, fell victim to a 20-4 Baruch run to close out the first half and trailed 36-23 at the end of the first half.
The Bearcats and Bombers held serve for the first nine minutes before the Blue and Gold found another gear. Spurred by six points in a five-minute span from sophomore forward Jennifer Escobido, the South Hill squad rattled off an 11-1 run that closed a 12-point deficit to just two with 5:22 left to play. The Bombers forced two turnovers and nine straight missed shots from the Bearcats during that run.
Baruch came back with a 6-2 run of its own, but Escobido responded with a huge three-point play. Junior forward Devin Shea followed with two free throws to give the Bombers their first lead since early in the first half with just 1:07 left to play in the game.
Baruch junior guard Kiara Johnson, who led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, kept the Bearcats close late in the game, but ended up committing two turnovers and missing two easy layups in the closing minutes that would prove to be fatal for the Bearcats.
Bombers Head Coach Dan Raymond said the team was forced to change its defensive tactics to try and slow down Johnson.
“Jackie and Jess were playing with four fouls, so they had to be tentative as far as defending,” Raymond said. “So we ended up going with switches. We switched everything on defense and Devin and Jen did a tremendous job at not letting her get to the basket.”
Baruch, who came in having forced their opponents to average 24 turnovers a game, forced the Bombers to commit 10 turnovers in the first half, which lead to eight points off turnovers for the Bearcats.
Senior guard Jacqueline Shinall said the Blue and Gold made adjustments at halftime to try and dictate the tempo.
“We just slowed down and played our pace,” Shinall said. “In the first half we were just rushing because they were trapping and it really forced a lot of bad passes. I think in the second half we were able to really slow it down and get the shots we wanted.”
Shea recorded her fourth career double-double and led the Bombers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Escobido tallied her third career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while junior forward Elizabeth Conti matched her career high with seven rebounds.
After turning around a blown 13-point lead against no. 5 University of Rochester on Tuesday into a comeback of the same size Saturday, Escobido said the Bombers have .
“I think this win gives us a lot of confidence knowing that we can come back from a hard loss and then come back from a deficit in the middle of the game,” Escobido said.
The Blue and Gold are idle until next weekend when they travel to Holland, Mich. for the Hope Post-Exam Jam tournament. The Bombers will open against Robert Morris University at 6 p.m. Friday, and then play the winner of the match up between Hope College and Finlandia University on Saturday.