(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- Thirty seconds into the University of Maine-Presque Isle women's basketball game against the University of Maine-Fort Kent, UMFK guard Megan Land hit a three-pointer for the first score of the game. Two halves and three overtimes later, the Bengals' Erika Christensen hit a layup with three seconds remaining to give Fort Kent a 74-73 win and end the marathon battle between the rivals.
As one might guess for a game that nearly went an entire extra half, it was a night of nonstop drama and action. The closely matched teams were tied at halftime 30-30, tied at the end of regulation 55-55, after one overtime it was 62-62, and the 2nd OT knotted at 69. The largest lead for either team in the overtimes was the four point lead UMPI held to start the 3rd extra frame (73-69).
Like twist endings? Consider:
UMPI (8-12) never led in the first half. In fact, the Owls trailed by as many as eight in the first 20 minutes before charging back to even at the break. Late in regulation, it looked like the Owls were the ones that had the advantage. UMPI had a two point lead and the basketball with under :30 remaining. A missed layup and a foul on the rebound led to Christensen coming through in the clutch for the first time in the night with two free throws to send the game into the first overtime.
Late in that initial overtime UMFK (8-11) almost closed it out again on Christensen free throws. Her freebies with 7 seconds remaining put the Bengals up 62-60. But Emily Moore (Sr./Lisbon, ME) drove the length of the court and got a shot up and in from the paint before the buzzer to send the game into its second extra stanza.
UMFK led the majority of the 2nd overtime until UMPI's Rashell Saucier (So./Washburn, ME) hit a free throw to tie the game with just over a minute remaining. Both teams missed opportunities in the last minute to take control and an exhausted home team, visiting team, officials, and rabid crowd geared up for a 3rd overtime.
The third overtime was the only one that started well for UMPI. A free throw by Renee Moore (So./Lisbon, ME) and three-point basket by Emily Pelletier (Jr./Fort Kent, ME) gave the Owls a quick four-point advantage. Maliesha Caesar hit a three of her own for the Bengals to pull them to within one with two minutes to play. Both defenses held the rest of the way until Christensen's heroics at the end finally capped the action.
Christensen led all scorers with 21. Colpitts followed with 20. Caesar finished with 12 points and 18 rebounds.
The Owls, who were hurt by a 13-25 performance from the free throw line including 5-12 in the OT's, were led by Saucier's 17 point, 10 rebound, 7 steal performance. Emily Moore scored 14 points, dished out 10 assists, while hauling in 7 rebounds.
The win for the Bengals avenges a 65-61 loss at the hands of UMPI back in December. Neither team will have much time to recover as they will now play a "rubber match" in Fort Kent on Friday, February 10th at 5:30pm.