Jessica Katch scored two baskets in the final 29 seconds to force overtime, and scored the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds left in the extra session to lead the host Tommies (19-6 overall, 18-4 MIAC) to a 56-55 comeback win over St. Benedict (20-5, 18-4) in MIAC women's basketball play at UST's Schoenecker Arena.
The Tommies, who erased a 16-point second-half deficit, tied the Blazers for the MIAC championship -- UST's first league crown since 2001-02.
It was just the second Tommie win over St. Ben's in 14 meetings, and their first defeat of CSB in the last six games at Schoenecker Arena.
St. Thomas has won eight of its last nine games and will be the No. 2 seed for the MIAC playoffs. UST has a first-round bye and plays a home semifinal game Wednesday night, either against Gustavus, Carleton or Concordia. The Blazers get the top-seed on a tie-breaker.
St. Ben's used a 23-6 run to puild a 48-32 lead with 8:49 to go. But the Blazers were then outscored 20-4 in the last 8:35 of regulation, including an 8-0 run in the final 4:13 capped by Katch's baskets with 29 seconds and 15 seconds to play. Over the last 4:13, the Blazers had four turnovers, missed a pair of free throws with 1:09, and missed a game-winning shot just before the buzzer.
The Blazers made just 1-of-7 shots in overtime, but Judy Falvey's 3-point basket with 47 seconds left gave the Blazers a 55-54 lead.
After a time out, UST worked inside to Katch, who scored with 18 seconds to go. The Blazers missed a potential go-ahead shot with :05 left, which Katch rebounded. Katch was tied up under the basket with :01.3 left. The Blazers had the arrow to get one last possession, but they were unable to get off a shot after the inbounds pass.
Tommie senior forward Carrie Embree had 15 points and 12 rebounds for her eighth double double of the season. Sophomore guard Sheena Porter had 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Katch was slowed by foul trouble but finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and four assists. DeJurnett Prioleau added 10 points and nine rebounds.
Mindy Schmidt led the Blazers with 10 points and eight rebounds. Daneille Frank had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks; Ariel Tauer had nine points; and Falvey and Heather Gillund each scored eight.
St. Thomas was outscored 18-3 from 3-point range and 25-6 in bench points, but used a 55-48 rebounding advantage. The Blazers had nine second-half turnovers, made just 13-of-24 at the foul line and converted just 29% from the field (18-of-62).
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