Just when Morgan State thought its seven-game losing skid was over, the Lady Bears found a way to blow a 10-point second half lead and fall in overtime to Holy Cross, 73-66, in the consolation game of the Miami Holiday Classic Dec. 29 at the Bank United Center in Cora Gables, Fla.

Senior DeKeisha Mathis scored on a layup with 14 seconds remaining, giving the Lady Bears a 66-63 advantage. But on the ensuing inbound, Holy Cross beat Morgan State’s full court press and after several passes around the arc, sophomore Alex Smith was wide open at the top of the key and drained her fifth three-pointer of the game to even the score at 66-66.

The Lady Bears had a chance to win it in regulation, but saw a potential layup attempt hit the bottom of the rim as the horn sounded. Morgan State seemed rattled after being seconds away from celebrating a victory, as Holy Cross would hold them scoreless during the extra session. Morgan State went 0-for-8 from the field, including 0-for-4 from three-point range in overtime.

The Crusaders (7-6) were led by Smith and junior Amy Lepley, who both scored a game-high 19 points. Lepley added a team-high 10 rebounds to record a double-double, while sophomore Brisje Malone fell shy of a triple-double, finishing with a game-high 11 assists, 10 points and eight rebounds to help Holy Cross take third place in the Miami Classic.

Morgan State (2-9), which was the runner-up in the tournament last year, was led by sophomore Whitney Southerland, who came off the bench to score 16 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Mathis tied Southerland for team-high honors of 16 points, while senior Omara Parker added 12 points, eight rebounds and had a game-high five steals. Freshman Amarah Williams recorded her first double-double of the season, totaling 10 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in the loss.

The Lady Bears will stay in Miami through New Year’s and will return to action on Jan. 3 when they visit Florida International at 7 p.m.

Kevin Paige

Special to the AFRO