Blue Basketball Falls to Oneonta in OT, 58-55, to Open 2017-18 Season

Junior Zojajha Ayub scored 13 points in a 58-55 OT setback for the Blue (Julia Monaco).
Junior Zojajha Ayub scored 13 points in a 58-55 OT setback for the Blue (Julia Monaco).

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Sophomore Caitlin Aguirre (El Paso, Texas) and junior Zojajha Ayub (Belle Mead, N.J.) combined for 27 points but Wellesley College basketball came up just short in overtime, dropping a 58-55 decision to SUNY Oneonta on the opening night of the season at the Vassar College Tip-Off Tournament on Friday evening at the Vassar Athletics and Fitness Center. 

Aguirre scored a game-high 14 points for the Blue, shooting 6-for-9 from the floor. Aguirre also grabbed six rebounds and dished out a pair of assists. Ayub was 3-for-6 from beyond the arc to finish with 13 points. First-year Lane Arkangel (Redondo Beach, Calif.) chipped in with 11 points off the Blue bench, while classmate Alyssa Cho (Hillsborough, Calif.) grabbed a team-high seven boards.

Madeline Frank (Syracuse, N.Y.) recorded a double-double to pace Oneonta, scoring 10 points and pulling down a team-high 14 rebounds. Leanne Corso (Commack, N.Y.) added 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting for the Red Dragons. Samantha Lisikatos (Cold Spring, N.Y.) added eight more points off the Oneonta bench, helping the Red Dragons reserves outscore Wellesley, 24-13.

Wellesley erased a 9-0 deficit in the first quarter, tying the game, 9-9, when Arkangel knocked down a triple at 2:55. Ayub and sophomore Shelby Benjamin (Norwich, N.Y.) exchanged baskets to end the first in an 11-11 tie. Spurred by an 8-0 run midway through the second, the Blue outscored the Red Dragons 15-8 in the quarter to jump ahead 26-19 at the break. 

Oneonta shot 61.5% from the floor in the third quarter, outscoring the Blue, 20-14, to cut the deficit to one, 40-39, at the end of the frame. Cho and Frank exchanged buckets in the early stages of the fourth, before Wellesley used a 7-0 run, capped by a jumper from Aguirre, to take a 49-41 lead with 4:39 left in regulation. Lisikatos hit two free throws at 4:19 and Aguirre netted another jumper at 4:01, but the Red Dragons held the Blue without a field goal for the final four minutes of play before forcing overtime when Corso nailed a three with three seconds to play to tie the game, 55-55. Three free throws made the difference in the extra stanza, with Frank netting her final two points of the night and sophomore Alexa Amalbert (Nanuet, N.Y.) scoring the other, to give Oneonta the 58-55 win.

Wellesley forced 21 turnovers in the contest but shot just 29.9% from the field. Oneonta finished at 37% from the floor and knocked down 8-of-20 attempts from beyond the arc. Each team grabbed 44 rebounds.

Wellesley (0-1) will play Simmons in the tournament's consolation final on Saturday at 2:00 PM. The Red Dragons (1-0) will play Vassar in the tournament final on Saturday, November 18, at 4:00 PM. Simmons dropped a 68-42 final to the host Brewers in Friday's opening game.