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Last-second layup lifts women's hoops over Colby

Teammates converge after the final buzzer reveals the Bobcats as 73-71 winners over rival Colby.
Val Beckwith drives for the game-winning layup.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior forward Val Beckwith's driving layup went around the rim and dropped in as time expired, giving the Bates College women's basketball team a 73-71 victory over Colby College Tuesday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

A thriller of a game that featured 17 ties and 14 lead changes fittingly came down to the final second. Tied at 71-71, Bates inbounded the ball with 16 seconds remaining, but only got its play in gear with about five ticks left on the clock. Sophomore Jessie Igoe (Lexington, Mass.) received the ball in the high post and dished off to Beckwith (Woburn, Mass.), who was streaking down the left side of the lane toward the hoop for the game-winning shot, a trademark underhanded scoop which she released just before the final buzzer.

Beckwith finished with a game-high 21 points to go with 3 steals, while junior Lauren Yanofsky (Belmont, Mass.) added 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocked shots for the Bobcats (11-4), who won their 12th straight over the Mules.

Colby (6-5) was led by Alison Cappelloni's 18 points on 7-11 shooting, including 4-7 behind the arc. Aarika Ritchie added 15 on 7-9 shooting. Julianne Kowalski scored 13 points with 7 boards and Rachael Mack notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Mules shot 52.8 percent from the field, including 60% (6-10) on 3-pointers. The Bobcats shot 44.9%, including 21.4% (3-14) behind the arc, but canned 26 of 33 free throws compared to 9 of 13 for Colby. Yanofsky (11-12) and Beckwith (9-10) both had exceptional nights at the charity stripe.

The game stayed close throughout. Colby took the largest lead of the first half at 36-31 with 2:24 to play, following a jumper by Meredith Aronson with a layup by Ritchie. Bates finished out the period with a 6-2 run, and sophomore Emily Jasinski's (Durham, N.H.) layup at the buzzer put Bates on top 39-38 at intermission.

Colby led 59-58 at the end of a 7-2 run with 8:53 to go, as a three by Cappelloni rattled home. But Bates responded with a 9-0 run for the game's largest lead, 67-59, with 4:15 to play. Beckwith's two free throws were followed by a 3-pointer by first-year Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) to make it 65-59, and Beckwith finished off the run with a layup off of Yanofsky's defensive rebound and fast-break assist. But Cappelloni hit another three, prompting a Bates timeout with 3:55 left.

Burns (8 points, 5 assists) converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:19 left in the game, giving Bates a 71-67 lead. But Mack fed Ritchie for a layup to make it 71-69, and after a missed jumper by Yanofsky, Colby called time to set up another play, resulting in a Ritchie-assisted layup by Kowalski, tying the game at 71-71 with 22 seconds to go. Bates called a final timeout with 16 seconds left, setting up the game-winning play.

The game didn't count toward the NESCAC standings; the teams will meet again on Jan. 24 in their conference matchup at Colby. Bates opens its conference schedule on Friday night at 7 p.m. against Middlebury, while Colby will host Gordon on Thursday at 5:30.

STATS: Bates 73, Colby 71