Forty minutes wasn't enough. But one point was.
The Charger women's basketball team conjured up some more magic in the month of March with a 75-74 overtime win over the University of Findlay in a G-MAC Tournament quarterfinal game at Findlay's Croy Gymnasium. The win makes Hillsdale 17-11 on the season and advances the team to Friday night's tournament semifinal against Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio.
Senior guard Allie Dewire, unstoppable all night, hit a free throw with 33 seconds left to put the Chargers ahead by a point. Hillsdale then stepped up on defense, forcing three Oiler misses on the game's final possession. The defensive dagger was a blocked shot by senior forward Brittany Gray, which forced the fall far from the basket, leaving Findlay with a desperation, low-percentage shot at the buzzer. It fell short, and Hillsdale, the defending conference tournament champs, walked off with the G-MAC's only road victory of the tournament's first round.
Dewire poured in a season-high 26 points, going 10-for-16 from the floor. She was able to consistently get by the Findlay defense for high-percentage layups, using her signature speed and quickness to help get the team easy points in a closely played game.
This game featured strong momentum swings both ways all night. The Oilers led 17-13 at the end of the first quarter, only to see the Chargers win the second and third quarters by a combined score of 37-28. Findlay rallied back to tie the game on a short jumper by center Anna Hintz with four seconds left in regulation, making it 69-69 entering the extra session.
Gray's 3-pointer off a Makenna Ott offensive rebound gave Hillsdale a brief 72-71 lead early in overtime, and made some history. That was Gray's third made 3-pointer of the game, giving her 83 for the season, a new Hillsdale College record.
That ended up being Hillsdale's only made field goal of overtime, as Dewire and Jaycie Burger each made free throws to provide the Chargers their only offense over the game's last 3:16. But it was on defense where Hillsdale clamped down on Findlay, holding the Oilers scoreless over the game's final 3:47 and forcing eight consecutive missed shots over that stretch.
The Chargers were outrebounded - a rarity lately - 48-41, but made up for it by shooting 50 percent from the field compared to 36 for Findlay.
Gray finished with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Ott had 14 points and 13 rebounds - 12 of them on the defensive end. Burger hit a pair of threes and had 7 points while Lauren Daffenberg and Sydney Anderson each scored 5 off the bench.
PHOTO: MaryKate Drews