Women's Basketball Edged By Lightning, 48-47, On Late Free Throw

(Photo by Steven R. Smith)
(Photo by Steven R. Smith)

RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Felician University junior guard Danelle Gibson (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) made two go-ahead late fourth-quarter jump shots, only to see visiting Goldey-Beacom College come away with a 48-47 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory over the host Golden Falcons on Wednesday evening at Job Gymnasium.

Goldey Beacom's margin of victory was provided by freshman forward Alanna Speaks (Wilmington, Del./St. Elizabeth). Teammate Tanner Turner-Rush (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Township) had just tied the game by canning the first of two free-throw attempts with 8.6 seconds left in regulation time. She missed the second, but Speaks rebounded to the right of the hoop and was fouled on her putback attempt. At 0:07.4, Speaks made the second of two tries at the foul line.

With no timeouts remaining, Felician inbounded to Gibson. The Lightning had a foul to give, and Ruth Fernandez (Madrid, Spain/Colegio San Juan Batista) bumped Gibson near the left sideline at the 0:03.5 mark. The Golden Falcons again put the ball in play to Gibson, who rushed the ball into the paint and got off an off-balance lay-up which was easily blocked by Britani Bryson (Hampton, Va./Bethel) as time expired.

Speaks topped all players with 15 points. Bryson turned in 10 points and 14 rebounds. Gibson led the Golden Falcons with 10 points.

Ahead, 14-10, after one period, Felician (4-9, 2-4 CACC) led by as many as nine points in the second quarter before settling for a 24-19 halftime advantage. GBC evened the score at 28-28 on a layup by Chiara Gesselbach (Weiterstadt, Germany/Colorado Mesa University) with 5:40 left in the third period, but the Golden Falcons rattled off the next 10 points for their largest lead of the day, and were on top, 40-32, at period's end.

The Lightning held the hosts scoreless for the first 5 ½ minutes of the fourth period, taking a 41-40 lead on a Speaks three-point field goal with 5:04 left. It was the first of seven lead changes down the stretch. Shana Owen (Philadelphia, Pa./Carver) found Gibson open for a three-pointer with 2:13 remaining to give Felician a 45-44 edge, and that score held until 0:33.9, when Bryson scored on a putback.

Gibson buried a mid-range jumper from straight on at 0:14.5, forcing GBC to use its final timeout. A Felician player gambled and failed for a steal on a diagonal Lightning pass, inspiring Turner-Rush to drive into the lane and draw a foul. She made only the first shot, setting up Speaks' heroics.

Felician received eight points each from Marta Moix (Madrid, Spain/John Carroll School [Md.]) (seven rebounds), Kristin Smith (Hainesport, N.J./Rancocas Valley) (six rebounds) and Sophia Guerrier (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) (four steals). Owen finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and four steals.

In October, Speaks was named the CACC Rookie of the Year in women's soccer.

On Saturday, Felician makes its first of two trips this season to Philadelphia when it takes on Holy Family University at noon. The game time has been changed from its originally listed 1 p.m. start.