Benedetti and Simpson lead Terriers to overtime victory

Sarah Benedetti had 28 points to beat Robert Morris. Photo by Rob Abruzzese.

Sarah Benedetti had 28 points to beat Robert Morris. Photo by Rob Abruzzese.

For the second time this year and the third time in their last four matches, the St. Francis Terriers took Robert Morris to overtime and this time they came away with a big 93-82 win behind career-best nights from Sarah Benedetti and Eilidh Simpson in Brooklyn Heights on Monday.

“It’s a great win for us tonight to beat a top caliber team in Robert Morris,” Simpson said.  “There was some extra motivation for this game after we battled them to double overtime at their place.  It was a war and I’m proud of our team for picking up this win.”

Benedetti finished with 28 points and five rebounds as she shot 8-for-15 from the floor and was 6-for-6 from the line. Simpson finished with 27 points and seven rebounds as she was 9-for-16 overall and 6-for-6 from the line. Jaymee Veney finished with 17 points and six rebounds and three other players had six points.

“Tonight was a big win for us,” Terrier coach John Thurston said. “They (Robert Morris) have been the best team since conference play began and have arguably the best player in the league. We played them tough the last time we played them on their court and tonight we made plays that we needed to make and especially at this time of the year.”

The Terriers, who lost in double overtime against Robert Morris, took an early lead when Simpson scored five points early. That least didn’t last long as Artemis Spanou gave Robert Morris a 12-11 lead with 12:34 left that lasted the rest of the half. Robert Morris’ biggest lead was 10 points when Kelly Hartwell hit a jumper with 4:22 left.

Things changed in the second half when Katie Fox hit a three to cut the lead to four, and Benedetti hit three threes in a row to go up 43-38 with 16:01 to play. The Terriers lead by as much as eight points in the second half, but eventually lost that lead when Hartwell hit a pair of free throws to go up by one with 2:12 to play.

The two teams went back and forth and went to overtime tied at 75-75. Simpson took over the game in overtime when she scored nine points in five minutes including three rebounds and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line. The big play was a layup with 3:26 left that put the Terriers up 80-78. From there they went on a 15-4 run to finish off the win.

“We got together at halftime and talked about our principals,” Benedetti said. “Our shots started to fall. We had extra motivation for this one.”

The Terriers continued their home dominance with this win as they improved to 11-1 in the Heights. They are now 9-7 and tied for third place in the Northeast Conference. With two games left, they can’t catch up to second place Mount St. Mary’s, but tied with two other teams they must win if they want to maintain their position in the standings.

Their final two games are at home against Bryant on Saturday and LIU Brooklyn next Monday.

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