The William Smith College basketball team exacted a measure of revenge, defeating defending Liberty League champion Vassar College 70-68 in overtime in a rematch of last season’s conference championship game. Sophomore guard Sasha Borenstein put the Herons in the lead for good with the last of her four 3-pointers with 1:24 remaining in OT.
Vassar led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but William Smith rallied to trim its deficit to 30-21 by halftime. A 13-4 Heron run to start the second half tied the game with 12:42 remaining in regulation. From that point on, neither team led by more than five points.
With 1:20 remaining in the second half, senior guard Brittany Parks converted a layup for a 56-55 Vassar lead. Seventeen seconds later, junior guard Sydni Salvatore drained a 3-pointer to put William Smith up two. Over the next 45 seconds, the visitors missed four shots to tie or take the lead. Twice during that time frame, the Herons earned a trip to the free throw line, but both times missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The missed freebies left the door open to first-year forward Colleen O’Connell’s game-tying jumper with six seconds to go. William Smith was able to inbound the ball and got off a shot from midcourt that missed the rim to the right.
Vassar scored the first four points of OT on buckets by Parks and first-year guard Michelle Foreman. The Herons wiped out the advantage by scoring eight straight points. Junior guard Jaimie Rubin started the run with a pair of makes at the line and ended it with a layup with 34 seconds to go and William Smith in front 68-64.
Senior forward Kristyn Tempora cut it to a two-point lead on a jumper with 21 ticks left and immediately fouled. Sophomore guard Erin O’Brien iced the game with a pair of makes and the Brewers added a buzzer-beating layup to complete the scoring.
Borenstein led the Herons with 14 points while O’Brien added 11 points. Senior forward Kristen Kush came up one rebound shy of a double-double on 10 points and nine boards. First-year forward Chloe Hayter also contributed 10 points. Rubin finished with eight points and a team-high six assists.
Sophomore guard Cydni Matsuoka paced the Brewers with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Tempora and Parks chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively. O’Connell netted eight points to go with 10 boards.
William Smith (7-7, 3-2) will be back in action at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, when the Herons host Bard. Vassar (8-5, 2-2) will travel to RIT at play tomorrow at 2 p.m.