Squirrels Rally For Overtime Win Over Eagles

McKenzie Jenkins handles the ball for the Eagles.

BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Mary Baldwin erased a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation to tie the score and force overtime and the Fighting Squirrels went on to defeat the Bridgewater Eagles, 81-77, in non-conference play Tuesday night.

The Eagles closed the first quarter with a 13-3 run to take a 10-point lead. Tied at 8-8, Bridgewater moved ahead on a 3-pointer by Madison Baum. After a layup by Mary Baldwin's Jalen Gathers, Lindsay Estes hit from long range to put the Eagles up 14-10 with 3:51 left in the first quater. A layup by Mary Ruth Shifflett and a 3-pointer by McKenzie Jenkins pushed the Eagles' lead to 19-10 with 1:31 left on the clock. A jumper by Baum pushed the advantage to 21-10 before Squirrels' forward Leah Calhoun made 1-of-2 foul shots to trim the margin to 10, 21-11, after one quarter.

Mary Baldwin closed the gap to five points, 29-24, in the second quarter, but the Eagles closed the quarter with an 8-2 run to lead 37-26 at the half.

Bridgewater went cold from the floor in the third quarter, scoring just four points as the Squirrels rallied to take a one-point lead, 42-41, into the final quarter of play.

The Eagles got back on track offensively in the fourth quarter and a quick 11-2 spurt put the Eagles back out front. Ahlia Moone started the run with a layup and Jenkins knocked down a 3-pointer for a 46-42 lead. Shifflett added a pair of foul shots before a layup by Calhoun pulled the visitors back to within four, 48-44. Estes then connected from beyond the arc to put the Eagles up 51-44 with 8:12 left in the game.

Bridgewater led by eight, 61-53, on a layup by Baum midway through the final quarter, but the Squirrels ran off five straight points to cut the margin to three, 61-58, with 3:25 remaining. Estes scored inside for the Eagles before a free throw by Calhoun made the score 62-58. The Squirrels then came up with a defensive stop and Brooke Anders hit a 3-pointer from the corner, cutting the Bridgewater lead to one, 63-62 with 1:58 left.

Baum hit a jumper making it a three-point game and then Baum got the ball back for the Eagles with a steal. Jenkins found Estes cutting to the basket for a layup and Bridgewater led 67-62 with 1:22 left to play.

Calhoun pulled MBU closer with a jumper and the Squirrels forced a turnover that led to a layup by Gathers that trimmed the margin back to one, 67-66, with 59 seconds left. The Eagles turned the ball over again and Bryonna Wolter was fouled going to the basket. The Mary Baldwin point guard hit the second of two free throws to tie the score at 67-67 with 31 seconds left.

The Eagles worked the shot clock down and put the ball in Baum's hands. The Eagles' point guard drove into the lane and her layup in traffic rolled in to give the Eagles the lead, 69-67, with 1.7 remaining.

Mary Baldwin called timeout to advance the ball to the frontcourt. Inbounding the ball from in front of their bench, the Squirrels threw a pass crosscourt to the left side of the basket for Calhoun. Calhoun jumped, caught the pass and put her shot up before coming down. The ball trickled over the front of the rim and through at the buzzer to send the game to overtime tied at 69-69.

In overtime, the score was tied at 70-70, 72-72 and 74-74. A layup by Mary Baldwin's Cauy Duboise put the Squirrels up by two before Baum converted a three-point play for a 77-76 Bridgewater lead with 52 seconds left in overtime. 

After Woofter tied the score with a foul shot, the Eagles turned the ball over. Gathers went to the line with 17 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to put the visitors up 79-77. The Eagles worked the ball inside but a shot by Estes was blocked and Mary Baldwin controlled the rebound. Duboise was fouled and made both free throws to seal the 81-77 win for the Squirrels. 

Baum led the Eagles with 19 points and six steals. Jenkins and Estes both came off the bench and finished with 16 points each. Shifflett had s tough night shooting the basketball but still contributed a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with four assists and four steals.

Gathers led the Squirrels with 26 points while Calhoun finished with 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Bridgewater takes a week off for the holiday and returns to action on Wednesday, Dec. 4 with a long road trip to Virginia Wesleyan.