ST. LOUIS, Mo.—The Fontbonne University women's basketball team had hopes of dealing the Greenville Panthers its first conference loss to start off the New Year, however, the Panthers forced overtime late in the fourth quarter and went on for the 75-67 overtime win.
With 1:56 left in regulation, the Griffins got a big time 3-pointer from Jillian Venegas which gave them a 62-58 lead. However, Greenville tied the game with 52.0 seconds remaining on consecutive buckets from Morgan St. James.
The Panthers had one final chance to win it in regulation, but the Griffins defense stood tall and it was off to overtime.
In OT, both teams went on a respective 4-0 run in the first two minutes and 30 seconds to meet up at 66-66 after Rylee Stafford hit both of her free throw attempts.
The Panthers though closed out the final two minutes on a 9-1 run to secure the eight-point win and stay unbeaten in SLIAC play.
Overall, the Griffins (4-8; 1-3 SLIAC) shot 34.7 percent from the floor and drained 10 3-pointers. Rylee Stafford went 7-of-19 from the field to finish with a game-high 20 points. Raven and Jillian Venegas contributed 14 points each and combined for 12 rebounds.
Greenville (9-3; 4-0 SLIAC), shot 40.6 percent from the field and pulled down 56 rebounds. Jantzen Michael led with a team-high 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting. Morgan St. James came off the bench to record a double-double in 20:00 minutes with 16 points and a game-high 11 boards, while Wesley Woodard concluded with 15 points before fouling out.
In the first, the Griffins opened with an 8-4 lead on Raven Venegas' layup at 6:47. Later, at 5:25, the Panthers got a 3-pointer from Haven Robertson to make it 13-11, but Fontbonne answered with a 5-0 run over the next two minutes to take the 18-11 lead on Mallory Proffer's 3-pointer.
From there, the Griffins maintained its lead and were on top 23-17 after one quarter of play. Fontbonne controlled play throughout the first with its 52.6 field goal percentage and 10-8 rebounding advantage.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well in the second. The Griffins went 1-of-10 from downtown, while the Panthers went 5-of-15 (33.3 percent) from the field.
Sarah Schraut recorded the first five points of the quarter for Fontbonne as a layup and a 3-pointer gave them a 28-17 lead in just one minute and 33 seconds time.
At 4:23, the Griffins were on top 30-21 on Stafford's bucket. However, the Panthers went on to close out the final minutes on a 7-2 run to put them within striking distance at 32-28.
Fontbonne was still hanging onto its lead midway through the third as Stafford's layup gave them the 42-38 lead. Greenville got it down to 42-40, but a 3-pointer from Proffer gave the Griffins some breathing room with a 45-40 lead at 3:29.
The Panthers continued to chip away at the lead and rattled off an 9-0 run as Woodard's 3-point play put them on ahead, 48-45.
Fontbonne responded with a 3-pointer from Proffer and a Riley Guffey layup to make it 50-48 with 30.0 seconds left. Megan Barrett though pulled down the offensive board on the ensuing possession and scored the put-back to tie the game heading into the fourth.
In the fourth, the Griffins had the lead late, but back-to-back buckets from Morgan St. James from overtime where they would go on to outscore Fontbonne 13-5 for the victory.
The Griffins return to the court on Saturday when they'll pay a visit to Blackburn. Tip-off at 1 p.m.
Fans make sure to stay updated on fontbonnegriffins.com throughout the year for full updates and recaps on the women's basketball team.
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