WINCHESTER, Va. – Visiting Averett University rallied for a 56-53 non-league women's basketball victory over Shenandoah Tuesday evening.
Shenandoah (3-5) had a chance to tie with the final possession of regulation, but Averett (5-3) blocked Kirstyn Arcata's 3-point attempt with four seconds left and Mary Severin missed long on her game-tying attempt as time expired.
After SU held a 12-9 lead after one and a 27-22 lead at the break, the Cougars rallied over the final 20 minutes.
Averett outscored the Hornets 19-13 in the third to take 41-40 lead heading into the fourth. With Shenandoah holding its largest lead, nine points, following an Erin French jumper with 3:03 to play in the third, the Cougars scored the final 10 points of the stanza to take that one-point advantage.
Freshman Sarah Donley, who led all scorers with 17 points, put Shenandoah back on top by draining one of her four 3-pointers 24 seconds into the period. French followed with a layup 47 seconds later and the Hornets now led 45-41.
Unfortunately, Averett had an answer.
The Cougars scored the game's next 12 points in a span of 6:23 to lead 53-45 with 2:12 left.
Shenandoah refused to fold its tent, reeling off an 8-1 run over the next 61 seconds, but could not climb all the way back.
Donley's final 3-pointer, with 40 seconds left, made it 54-53 in favor of the visitors. On the ensuing possession, Averett held as long as possible before Ariana Covington iced the game with her layup at the 14-second mark.
SU quickly inbounded and attempted the game-tying '3', but Samm Chandler blocked Arcata's attempt to seal the victory.
Donley had 17 points French adding 10 points and 14 rebounds. Mia Moore added 10 points off the bench.
"I'm proud of the way we fought, coming off of final exams," Hornets head coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft said. "We also fought through that lull (in the third quarter) and I was proud of the fight we showed.
"We have had a few injuries and were only able to dress out 12 today, but this is a game we needed. We need some games like that to come down to the wire and we have to fight to win."
Shenandoah hosts Hood on Saturday at 2 p.m. in a non-league contest.