UR Women’s Basketball opened its season with a home win at the Chuck Resler Invitational this past weekend, coming back from a 14-point deficit to defeat fifth-ranked Thomas More College. The team had moved on to the championship match after beating Capital University 71–55 last Friday.
The no. 21 Yellowjackets dominated Thomas More in the fourth quarter by a 24–7 margin to emerge with a 61–58 victory over the Saints (1–1). Senior forward Al Leslie stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and three steals. Fellow senior forward Lauren Deming dropped 20 to go with nine boards. The two were named to the All-Tournament team, with Deming being named MVP.
The game looked almost out of reach after three quarters, with the Saints in control, 51–37. Leslie scored six points early in the quarter, but her team still trailed 56–43 with just over seven minutes remaining after the Saints deposited a putback. The Yellowjacket defense completely clamped down from that point on, not allowing a single field goal the rest of the way.
Rochester scored 11 unanswered to cut the lead to just two points. After Leslie upped her quarter scoring total to 10 with two point-blank baskets, sophomore guard Brenna James found the net on a three-pointer from the left wing, Leslie made a free throw, and Deming made a three from the right side.
At the 3:20 mark, the Saints made a pair of free throws to extend their lead back to four. They wouldn’t score again.
Deming struck again from beyond the arc with two minutes left. Afterward, the teams exchanged misses with the one-point game hanging in the balance. The Yellowjackets took a timeout, and on the next play, Deming made her third three of the quarter with just 18.9 seconds remaining.
The Saints missed a three-point attempt, got the rebound, and missed a layup. Leslie was able to corral the rebound into a foul and made one of two from the line. The visitors missed a desperation shot from midcourt, and the Yellowjackets secured a clutch comeback victory.
The fourth quarter was a complete turnaround defensively from the third, when they surrendered 22 points, and their 24 points were nine more than any other quarter, with Leslie and Deming combining for 21 of those.
On opening night against Capital, the Yellowjackets were led by senior guard Lizzy Atkinson, who scored 19 points and sunk five 3-pointers, and Deming, with 16 points, and Leslie, with 16 points, 13 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks. Senior forward Mary Kronenwetter had four points, freshman guard Gillian Mair added six point and four assists, and junior guard Lena Ethington, in her first career start, scored four points and notched seven rebounds.
At the end of the first quarter, UR had a 20–10 lead after a 13–2 run at the beginning of the game. Late in the second quarter, Capital made a comeback and led the Yellowjackets 32–29 before Atkinson sunk two three-pointers, making the score 35–32.
Another double-digit lead came in the third quarter after Mair hit a three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining in the frame. In the fourth quarter, Capital came within ten points, but was shut down when Kronenwetter, junior guard Shea McCartney, and Leslie made three straight shots. This gave UR a 14-point lead with under 10 minutes remaining in the game, and would contribute to the eventual win, which earned the team a spot in the championship match against Thomas More.
The Yellowjackets will look to build off this momentum on Tuesday at William Smith College.