If they were grading basketball games on effort, determination and pure fortitude, Hamline's women's BB team would probably qualify for an A+ on all counts Wednesday night. The Pipers led most of the night and chased once-beaten Gustavus all over Hutton Arena for two hours. But the Gusties hit a 35-footer at the buzzer to force overtime and then rallied in the extra session to stick the Pipers with an 83-82 setback.
Down to six healthy players from the roster that started the season due to injuries, coach Kerri Stockwell gladly welcomed Izzy Benjamin-Alvarado and Laura Troftgruben, who played soccer for Hamline last fall, to the mix Wednesday night. (Both had basketball pedigree. They played for their respective high schools.) The Pipers' starting five -- Veronika Jakubovie, Je'Naya Brown, Jordan Sammons, Steph Pilgrim and Kara Poirier all scored in double digits, playing 36 minutes or more. Sammons led the way with 18 points and nine rebounds. Pilgrim had 17 markers, including five three-pointers. Jakubovie scored a career high 16 points and added seven boards. Poirier also had 16 and Brown fired in 13. (Makenzie Lee, the other healthy body, played 22 minutes.)
The Pipers led the Gusties, 33-25 at halftime, holding the visitors to just 35.7 percent from the field. In the second half, HU picked up where they left off and pushed the lead as high as 13 points. But Gustavus hit 1a dozen 3-pointers in the second session and needed every single one of them to force the game into overtime.
Even there, Hamline refused to give in. Jakubovie (layup, two FT) and Poirier (layup) helped HU to a 80-74 lead but the Gusties worked their way back to tie the game and then took an 81-80 lead with 1:46 left. Now it was Sammons' turn. She hit two free throws with 1:36 left to put the home team back ahead, 82-81. Gustavus regained the lead with 23 seconds left, leaving the Pipers with one last chance. The shot missed the mark and Hamline fell to 4-11, 3-9 in the MIAC.
Fortunately for the weary Pipers, they now have two days (and three nights) to rest up before facing Macalester Saturday at Hutton Arena at 1:00 p.m.