ALBION, Mich. – Albion College head women's basketball coach Doreen Carden encourages her team to stand tall, walk big and to play with confidence.
The Britons did just that Wednesday night.
Oreyana Curry hit a mid-range jumper with 9.1 seconds left to force overtime and Emily Zgoda and Curry combined to score the first six points in the extra session to lead the Britons to an 83-77 upset of sixth-ranked Hope College.
"We came to win today," Carden said. "I saw it in the energy, the way we were communicating and in the way we played on defense. You could see it as soon as we started."
Paris Madison scored as Hope took its largest lead of the night, 63-57, with 6 ½ minutes to play. The Flying Dutch still led by five with three minutes left.
"I always say basketball is a game of runs, and you know a really good team like Hope would make a run," Carden said. "I was happy we didn't fold. We got stops and made baskets to get back in the game."
Hope left the door open down the stretch as Tyra Smith and Angelique Gaddy both went 1-for-2 at the line and Francesca Buchanan missed a layup.
Bernas delivered the knockout blow in overtime, hitting a 3-point shot to extend Albion's lead to 77-73 with two minutes left. Leutz, Olivia Savage and Evelyn Wischmeyer tacked on free throws to seal the victory.
Bernas produced a career-high 25 points and six assists to lead the Britons. Wischmeyer added 12 points and Leutz chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.
"We were playing a lot of first-year students who don't know any better," Carden said. "It was nice to have other people step up."
Curry and Zgoda led the seniors with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The road doesn't get any easier for Albion (14-4 overall, 7-3 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association) as it has a Saturday date against the Trine University squad that moved into a tie for the MIAA lead.
- Albion shot 96 percent from the free throw line, hitting 26-of-27 attempts. It was the most free throws made since 27 in an 88-86 win over Rochester College in the final game of the 2014-15 season.
- It was Bernas' first career 20-point game. She reached her previous high of 18 four times. She has scored in double figures 10 times this season.
- Albion has scored eight victories over Hope during Carden's tenure as head coach.