Down five points with :11 remaining in regulation, The College of Wooster women's basketball team rallied to force overtime against La Roche College before eventually falling, 88-86, in double overtime in the consolation game of the Baldwin Wallace Holiday Invitational on Friday afternoon at Ursprung Gymnasium in Berea, Ohio.
Key to preventing the near-Herculean comeback effort was a 38-point performance from La Roche's TiChina Mitchell, who went 14-for-27 from the floor to lead all scorers while pulling down 10 rebounds en route to All-Tournament Team honors.
In a two-part equation, an exemplary performance in team determination and a cold-blooded showcase from All-Tournament Team member Kylie Orr kept the Fighting Scots (1-11, 0-3 North Coast Athletic Conference) in contention late as both teams teetered back and forth down the final stretch of the fourth period.
After two made free throws from La Roche's Gloria Schifino, the Redhawks (7-4, 4-0 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference) led 66-61 with 11 ticks remaining.
On a quick drive-and-kick, Wooster sophomore Anna Gibbs found Orr, who connected on her fourth 3-pointer of the day to bring the deficit back down to two with :07 left.
On the ensuing possession, first-year Cat Fiorito committed a quick foul on Schifino, who split two free throws to give La Roche a three-point lead (67-64) with four seconds remaining.
With no timeouts left, Wooster advanced the ball past half court and Orr, whose game-tying 3-point attempt fell short, drew a shooting foul against La Roche's Danasha Harris to earn three free throws with two-tenths-of-a-second left on the game clock.
Orr, who led all Scots with a season-best 26 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 5-for-8 on three-point attempts – and more importantly a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line – made all three free throws to force overtime.
Orr continued to show no hesitation after the start of the first overtime. The first-year gave the Scots a 70-67 advantage with her fifth and final three-pointer 27 seconds into the period that saw six lead changes.
Of note, at its conclusion, the game featured 11 ties and 18 lead changes.
With Wooster leading 79-78 with :14 remaining in the overtime period, La Roche's Mitchell earned a trip to the foul line after a check by Gibbs on the drive.
The senior forward, who prior to the foul was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line, missed the first attempt before sinking the follow-up to tie the game at 79 with :09 remaining in the first overtime period.
On the ensuing possession, Gibbs put up the potential game-winner, only to be blocked by La Roche's Harris, who then corralled the rebound as time expired.
The Redhawks opened the second overtime period with four consecutive points as the Scots found themselves down two possessions with less than two minutes remaining.
After a defensive rebound by Orr with 1:58 on the clock, first-year Cat Fiorito flung a cross-court pass to Gibbs, who connected from deep to trim the deficit to one (83-82) with 1:52 remaining.
Mackenzie O'Donnell lifted the Redhawks' lead back to three with a layup on the next possession.
In response, Wooster pushed back ahead with a 4-0 run of its own behind two free throws from Gibbs and layup in transition from Orr, who won the ball back after a Wooster turnover on the previous possession to give the Scots an 86-85 lead with :27 left to play.
A defensive breakdown from Wooster granted Mitchell an easy layup on the other end, which gave the Redhawks an 87-86 lead and an advantage they would not relinquish, as Schifino etched in one of two foul attempts before a last-ditch half-court effort from Orr fell short.
The eighty-six point total marks the largest for the Scots this year. Wooster shot 38 percent (30-for-79) from the floor compared to La Roche, which shot 39.4 percent (28-for-71).
Most notable was the discrepancy in each team's respective bench performance, as Wooster's reserves outscored those of La Roche 42-0 behind Orr's considerable 26-point contribution in 30 minutes off the bench.
Gibbs finished with 19 points and a team-best five assists while Fiorito and Katie Mandych contributed 10 points each. First-year Akwia Tilton led the Scots with nine rebounds on top of a season-high nine points.
The Scots return to conference play on Jan. 4, as they prepare to host Denison University (6-7, 3-1 NCAC) at 6 p.m.