Gibbs’ Last-Second Free Throws Seals 62-60 Victory at Allegheny

Sarah Rapacz
Anna Gibbs

Tied at 60 with :02 remaining in the game, junior Anna Gibbs connected on a pair of game-winning free throws to lift The College of Wooster women's basketball team to a 62-60 victory over Allegheny College on Wednesday evening at the David V. Wise Center in Meadville, Pa.

Notably, Gibbs went 0-for-3 from the field on the day, and finished with four points, all coming from a perfect 4-for-4 showing at the charity stripe in the fourth period.

In addition to Gibbs' late serenity at the foul line, critical to the Fighting Scots' first win at Allegheny since the 2006-07 season was the rebounding edge, with Wooster (4-11, 2-4 North Coast Athletic Conference) totaling a season-best 54 compared to 39 for the Gators as all 12 Scots recorded at least one rebound.

Wednesday's contest started off with hot shooting from both sides, highlighted by a 17-point first period from Allegheny junior Delaney Arbore. Despite Arbore's opening effort, only two other Gators (4-10, 1-5 NCAC) scored in the first period while Wooster maintained an impressive 13-3 rebounding edge, headlined by six offensive boards.

After a quick 2-0 lead with two free throws from first-year Sarah Rapacz, Arbore tallied 11 straight points before Allegheny's Rylee Donovan connected from deep to cap a 14-0 Gators' run.

A layup from sophomore Erica Roberts preceded a three-pointer from first-year Sarah Marion and a fast-break layup from sophomore Cat Fiorito, as suddenly a 7-1 Wooster run brought the away team back to within two possessions midway through the first. The Scots ended on a 10-7 scoring advantage, with sophomore Aubri McKoy nabbing an offensive put-back off the missed three-pointer from junior Kyle Croxton within the final :20 to draw within three (22-19).

In the second period, Wooster outscored Allegheny 20-10 while limiting the Gators to 28.6 percent shooting. Sophomore Akwia Tilton scored seven of her 12 points, marking her third double-figure game of the season and second in the last four contests.

Tilton scored all seven of her second-period points within the first three minutes, as the Scots took a 28-25 with 7:02 left in the half. After an and-one conversion from sophomore Kylie Orr, a layup from first-year Jena Copley and a free throw from McKoy granted the Scots their largest lead of the game at 34-25 with 4:06 remaining.

From there, the Gators clawed back to within four before Croxton connected on her lone three-pointer of the game to grant the Scots a 39-32 lead at the break.

The tables turned in the third period, with Wooster sliding on a cold stretch while the Gators connected on 7-of-16 shooting, including 2-for-3 from deep. The Scots managed to maintain the lead for the majority of the third period until Arbore connected on a jumper with :03 remaining to bring the Gators ahead 50-49 entering the final 10 minutes.

The Scots responded, however, as Orr knocked down her lone three-pointer of the game on Wooster first possession of the period.

After Allegheny retook a 56-52 lead, Rapacz connected from down low before Gibbs tallied her first two points of the game, both coming at the foul line, to draw the Scots level with 3:56 to play.

Again, Arbore and Rapacz exchanged buckets, with Rapacz tallying the offensive put-back to draw even at 58 with 2:04 remaining. Moments later, a Rapacz block landed straight in the hands of Allegheny's Kayla Pinkney, who laid it up and in to pull ahead 60-58 with 1:07 on the clock.

Out of a Wooster timeout, Orr misfired on her jumper at the :55 mark before getting the steal and a fast-break layup with less than a minute to tie it at 60. After both sides exchanged turnovers, a missed three-pointer from Arbore ended up out-of-bounds for a Wooster possession with :04 left.

Gibbs, a 69.8 percent career foul shooter, gained control and was fouled with :02 remaining. The all-NCAC guard connected on both opportunities before a last-second three-pointer from Arbore fell short to grant the Scots their second consecutive conference road win for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

The victory also marks Wooster's second straight win against the Gators dating back to last year and the Scots' first time winning consecutive road games since the 2006-07 season.

Up next, Wooster hosts Wittenberg University (7-9, 2-5 NCAC) on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. at Timken Gymnasium.