OTTAWA — Ottawa's Lady Pirates had to sink their free throws down the stretch to stave off a Geneseo rally and post a well-earned, 51-42 win in a key early Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference West Division matchup at Kingman Gym.|
Ottawa led 15-8 after one quarter of play behind the perfect 3-point marksmanship of Jasmine Bailey — who swished a trio of 3-balls from nearly the same spot on the floor from the right wing. The hosts stretched that lead to 26-19 at halftime, with Cassidy Rice totaling eight points during the second stanza.
Ottawa had the lead despite the fact that leading scorer Jaleesa Kindred picked up two fouls less than three minutes into the contest, forcing her to the bench for the remainder of the first half.
Geneseo hung around throughout the second half, eventually getting as close as 44-42 with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. On the ensuing possession, Kindred came up with a huge putback basket to give the Lady Pirates a four-point lead.
Ottawa then proceeded to make 5 of 8 free throws over the final 1:44 — three by Kindred, along with one each from Lindsey Greene and Catie Carlson — to seal the deal.
"It's really the first close game that we've had ... so it was good to see the kids play hard and get the job done," said Ottawa coach Mike Cooper, whose Lady Pirates improved to 6-3, 2-0 in NIB 12 West play. "We were able to hold the ball — 13 (turnovers), that will win us a lot of games — made some free throws when we had to tonight. We did what we needed to do down the stretch.
"It was a good win for us."
"We were within two with under four minutes, and give Ottawa credit, they pulled (the ball) out and made us foul them, and they made their free throws," Maple Leafs coach Scott Hardison said.
Molly DeBrock had 13 points for Geneseo (2-5, 0-2).
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