Furman 77, Fairfield 70 OT
The first game of the day was an overtime battle that saw Furman (7-4) overcome an early ten-point deficit to beat Fairfield 77-70.
At the outset, Fairfield (2-8) appeared to have the upper hand, amassing a 17-7 lead at 2:01 in the first quarter. The Stags entered the second quarter leading the Paladins 17-12.
The tables turned in the second ten minutes as Furman fought back to outscore Fairfield 16-13 to narrow their deficit to two. The Stags led the Paladins 30-28 at the break. Senior guard Casey Foley had 11 points for Fairfield after the second period while Le'Jzae Davidson also had 11 at the half.
The third quarter saw Furman continue their offensive onslaught, outscoring Fairfield 20-13 in the third ten minutes. However, the Paladins were not ready to fold as they didn't let Furman's 48-43 lead at the end of the third period keep them from fighting.
Senior forward Khadidiatou Diouf's eight points in the fourth quarter helped Fairfield catch up while redshirt freshman guard Milica Manojlovic converted a scoop layup at the buzzer to tie the game at 62-62, sending the contest in overtime.
Manojlovic, Davidson and sophomore forward Celena Taborn helped seal the deal for Furman in the overtime period scoring nearly all the team's points in the extra period.
Davidson led all scorers with a career-high 35 points. Taborn had 19 plus nine rebounds.
Diouf paced Fairfield with a career-high 23 points plus 10 rebounds. Her performance marked her first double-double of the season. Foley and junior guard/forward Katie Armstrong had 13 points each. Foley pulled down five rebounds while Armstrong collected eight.
Overall, neither team shot particularly well. Furman shot 35.1 percent from the floor (20-57) while Fairfield was a little better at 40.0 percent (26-65). However, Furman had 27 points off the bench compared to 12 by Fairfield.
Fairfield faces the University of Illinois at Chicago in the first contest of the day on Saturday at noon. Furman takes on Western Illinois in the following game.
UTEP 84, Western Illinois 72
The second game of the days was also a pretty evenly matched affair for the majority of the game. However, UTEP (3-8) pulled out an 84-72 win over Western Illinois (3-9).
UTEP junior guard/forward Katarina Zec got the action going with a three-point jump shot for the Miners. Western Illinois, known as a team that is prolific beyond the arc, countered with a three-pointer of their own from junior guard Annabel Graettinger. WIU launched nine treys in the first period, making foru. UTEP was 2-of-5 from three-point land in the first period. The teams went into the second quarter tied at 19 after UTEP senior forward Jordan Alexander buried a triple at the buzzer.
The teams traded the lead a few times in the second quarter. UTEP managed to outscore WIU 20-17 in the second period. At the half, UTEP led 39-36.
The third quarter determined the outcome of the game as UTEP dominated by outpacing WIU 28-19. While the teams scored 17 points each in the last quarter, it was not enough for WIU to trade baskets and overcome the hole they fell into in the third quarter.
UTEP junior forward Zuzanna Puc earned double-double with a season-best 24 points plus 11 rebounds.
"It was great to watch our team play well," UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. "We really put a lot of work into that game so I was glad to see it pay off. We got that big lead and they made a run back at us. We could have said 'here we go again' but we didn't do that. We responded with some big baskets inside from Zuza (Zuzanna Puc). I'm just really proud of our team today."
WIU had three players in double figures. Senior guard Taylor Higginbotham finished with 24 points and six points. Junior guard Olivia Kaufman added 13 points and freshman guard Elizabeth Lutz contributed 10 points.
UTEP plays Akron on Saturday after the WIU vs. Furman game.
Akron 74, Jackson State 57
The third game was the most lopsided contest of the day as Akron (7-2) defeated Jackson State 74-57. But, the outcome of the matchup was not clear-cut at the outset as Jackson State (3-6) outscored Akron 12-9 to begin the game. The slow start by both teams continued somewhat into the second quarter. However, it was Akron who led, using a 17-9 second quarter run to go into halftime with a 26-21 advantage.
Like the game before, the third quarter proved to be the deciding period as Akron was 9-of-15 from the field and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. Junior forward Haliegh Reinoehl led Akron with eight points in third quarter. The Zips went into the fourth quarter with a 52-36 lead and did not look back.
Reinoehl and senior guard Megan Sefcik had 13 points each. Sefcik also pulled down five rebounds. Junior guard Shayna Harmon was also in double figures with 12 points along with six rebounds.
Sophomore guard D’Asia Mitchell paced Jackson State with 19 points. Junior guard Kaisah Lucky added 12 points and seven rounds. Marneisha Hamer contributed 10 points.
Jackson State has a day of rest before playing UIC on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT.