BUFFALO, NY -- The La Roche women's basketball team used an incredible second half rally to overcome a fifteen point halftime deficit to beat Medaille. The 86-84 road win earns La Roche their seventh straight AMCC Regular Season Championship and clinches home court in the AMCC Tournament.
The Redhawks improve to 17-4 overall. They also remain a perfect 14-0 in conference, keeping alive their quest for a first-ever undefeated AMCC record.
The Redhawks played even basketball with Medaille for a majority of the first half. The largest lead either team enjoyed over the first eighteen minutes was just four points.
The Mavericks caught a spark with two minutes left before halftime. La Roche turned the ball over four times and Medaille took advantage with an 11-0 run to enter intermission ahead 50-35. The Mavericks shot a solid 64% in the second quarter (3 for 3 from three-point) while the Redhawks hit just 6 of 18 shots.
Medaille remained in control throughout the third quarter. A pair of Tania Graham free throws put the Mavericks on top 65-52 with just a minute left in the third. TiChina Mitchell closed the quarter with four points, including a layup at the buzzer, to get within single digits.
Danasha Harris opened the fourth quarter by stealing the inbounds pass and scoring. Mitchell got the Redhawks within five but Medaille scored ten of the next fifteen points for an 80-70 lead with 4:30 left.
The veteran Redhawks stepped up their defense holding Medaille scoreless for the next three minutes. La Roche nearly caught the Mavericks with a 9-0 run. Darrian Johnson hit a three to cut the deficit to seven. Sabrina McLin followed with six straight points to make it 80-79 with a minute left.
Medaille's Graham converted a layup but Gloria Schifino nailed a three to tie it with 28 seconds left. Graham hit a pair of free throws for an 84-82 lead but those were Medaille's final points.
Coach Gissendanner called a timeout and drew up a play where McLin tied it. Medaille then called a timeout, but Gissendanner had her squad ready forcing a turnover.
Mackenzie O'Donnell got the game's final touch, sinking a layup just before the buzzer.
Mitchell (26 points), McLin (24 points), O'Donnell (16 points) and Harris (14 points) all reached double figures. Mitchell, O'Donnell and Harris were all just a rebound shy of double-doubles. Harris and Schifino both had 8 assists.
The Redhawks will face Penn State Behrend on Saturday. At halftime of the men's basketball game, McLin, Harris, O'Donnell and Mitchell will be recognized as 2016 All-Conference performers.