By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Lady Colonels (13-8, 7-3 OVC) picked up their fifth-straight win over rival Morehead State, 69-68, in overtime Saturday in McBrayer Arena.
The win keeps EKU in first place in the OVC East division, while Morehead (10-14, 4-7 OVC) falls to 1-5 in the East.
It took some stellar defensive plays in the final minute of overtime by Miranda Maples and freshman Michaela Hunter, and two huge offensive rebounds by senior Pilar Walker to finally subdue the Lady Eagles.
With the Lady Colonels trailing 66-64, Walker’s first rebound resulted in a three-point play and put EKU up 67-66 with 55.8 seconds remaining.
On the Lady Eagles’ ensuing possession, Maples’ tight defense on Morehead’s Aaliyah Wells forced a five-second call giving the ball back to the Lady Colonels with 38.9 seconds remaining.
With only 19 seconds left, Walker rebounded a Marie Carpenter shot and was fouled.
Her two free throws gave EKU a 69-66 lead with 17.3 seconds left.
Hunter then stepped in front of a Morehead player for a steal with 11 seconds to go. She missed the front end of the bonus free throw situation, setting up Maples last-second heroics.
After a timeout, Morehead drove the ball to the top of the circle in front of the Eagles’ bench. Maples swooped out of the lane and got a piece of the three-point attempt by Almesha Jones as time expired to seal the win for the Lady Colonels.
“We knew we had to stop No. 4 (Jones) because she’s their main threat,” Maples said. “As long as we had her stopped and helped out on the other girls back in the lane we new we would be fine.”
The game was tight throughout, mostly because of some defensive lapses by both teams that allowed the other to make runs.
EKU led 11-6, only to see MSU go on an 8-2 run to get to within one at 13-12. The Lady Colonels twice more built five-point cushions, only to see Morehead rally thanks to some defensive mistakes. The Lady Eagles got the final four points of the first half to get to within 23-21.
Morehead got the first four points of the second half to go up 24-23, but back-to-back three pointers by Maples and Hunter quickly put EKU on top 29-24.
Once again the Lady Colonels built five-point leads three times to only let Morehead cut it to a single point. The Lady Eagles finally got even at 41-41 on a three by Jones with 9:23 to go.
Marie Carpenter put the Lady Colonels up 51-48 with a three pointer with 5:30 remaining, but a couple of minutes later Shanice Parker knotted it up again at 53-53 with a three pointer.
With the score tied at 55-55, Carpenter had a chance to win it for the Lady Colonels but couldn’t connect on a free throw with 7.4 seconds left, sending it into overtime.
The lead changed hands three times in the overtime before Walker put EKU up for good with the her three-point play with 55.8 seconds left.
Coming off Monday’s disappointing loss to UT-Martin, it was a huge win, but EKU coach Chrissy Roberts wasn’t happy with her team’s performance.
“I felt like we were sleep-walking at times. I tell them all the time when we come out and step foot on that floor, we’ve got to compete, and it can’t be for 25 to 30 minutes it’s got to be for 40 minutes,” Roberts said. “But, we found a way to win and we will take a W. It wasn’t pretty, but we won.”
Carpenter led three Lady Colonels in double figures with 23 points. Maples finished with 14 points and Hunter added 11 points, eight rebounds, one assist and three steals.
Shelly Harper had nine points and 10 rebounds, Walker finished with seven points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals, Nicole Bowers had three points and two rebounds and Cierra Drake and Jasmine Stafford had one point each.
The Lady Colonels out-rebounded the Lady Eagles 45-41.
EKU shot 34.3 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the three-point line.
Morehead shot 39.3 percent from the field and 20.8 percent from three point range.
EKU turned the ball over 11 times, while forcing MSU into 14 turnovers, including 10 steals.
The Lady Colonels return to action on Monday when they begin a three-game road trip at Jacksonville State.