Jan. 13, 2014
BOWIE, MD - Staring a 17-point halftime deficit in the face, the Fayetteville State women's basketball team had two choice: Give up or fight. The Lady Broncos chose the latter option in a 71-67 come-from-behind overtime win Monday night that stunned the home crowd at A.C. Jordan Arena.
Amber Calvin had 19 points and hit 13 of her 14 free throws. Deja Middleton had yet another double-double, totaling 15 points and 13 rebounds. Je'Lena Robertson (13 points) and Akysia Resper (10 points) also had double-figures. But the key ignitor of the win, which puts the Lady Broncos at 11-4 overall and 4-2 in the CIAA this season, may have been Robertson imploring her teammates to keep fighting.
"I told them we came too far to lose this game," the senior guard said. "We had to do all we had to do to win this game. Two points at a time. We had to leave it all out on the floor."
Fittingly, it was Robertson whose layup with eight seconds to play in regulation tied the game. After two free throws from Bowie State's Mariah Goodman clanged off the rim with 1.8 seconds left, FSU knew it was in prime position to steal a victory.
"Once she missed those free throws, we knew we fought too hard to lose this game," Robertson said.
"We just had to suck it up. We knew what we worked for in preseason. For games like this. We had to give it all we had."
The Lady Broncos scored the first two points of the overtime session on a Middleton layup. But Bowie State scored the next five points and FSU needed one last rally.
They got just that.
The Lady Broncos scored nine points in a row on jumpers by Middleton and Bria Robinson, a Robinson free throw and four Calvin foul shots. A Donia Naylor layup with 10 seconds left ended the run but was not enough to prevent the Lady Broncos from earning their most dramatic win of the season.
"That was a character-building game," FSU coach Eva Patterson-Heath
said. "We challenged them at halftime. We told them that they were a shell of who they are that first half. We challenged them to understand that it was going to be two points at a time. We challenged them to trust each other and to trust the system."
As exciting as the last few minutes were, the Lady Broncos wouldn't have been able to put together meaningful buckets down the stretch if it wasn't for a sprint out of the gate in the second half's first three minutes.
After scoring just 22 points in the game's first 20 minutes, FSU scored 10 in the first 2:23 of the second half to cut the deficit to 11. Bowie State still had a semi-comfortable nine point lead with 8:44 to play, but FSU scored seven straight points to cut it to 47-45 at the 6:48 mark.
Bowie State stretched the lead back out to six and FSU clawed back once again, but the Lady Broncos trailed until Robertson's layup finally tied things up.
The Lady Broncos outscored Bowie State 18-2 off of turnovers in the second half after being outscored 18-8 in the first frame. FSU was actually outrebounded 43-42, but Middleton and Bria Robinson combined for 20 boards.
After shooting 28 percent in the first half, the Lady Broncos were an even 50 percent (13-of-26) in the second frame. The Lady Bulldogs shot 56 percent (14-of-25) in the first half and just 25 percent in the second half and overtime (10-for-40 in the game's last 25 minutes).
The win gives FSU a 2-1 road trip and some time off to prepare for a conference game at home against Johnson C. Smith on Saturday at 2 pm.