COSTA MESA — Riverside City College women's basketball coach Alicia Berber has learned to fear the buzzer at Orange Coast.
For the third time in their last three meetings in the Pirates' gym, the visiting Tigers saw OCC connect on a three-pointer late in regulation to force overtime and then prevail in the extra session.
Friday, it was OCC sophomore Ashley Engeln who netted the game-tying three-pointer that just beat the buzzer to knot things in regulation, 59-59.
OCC sophomore Jordyn Terukina sank a three-pointer to open overtime for OCC and the Pirates never trailed on their way to a 70-64 triumph. The win made OCC 10-12, 2-3 in conference.
The win pulled the Pirates out of a fifth-place tie with Riverside (7-14, 1-4), which after dismissing eight players for violating team rules during a December tournament, had just seven available players, six of whom played.
"We're just really fortunate, actually," OCC Coach Mike Thornton said. "That shot Ashley made was fortunate."
Engeln, who called the game-tying three ball one of the most meaningful of her career, agreed that, at least on the crucial final possession of regulation, it was better to be lucky than good.
"That was crazy," Engeln said of the play that began when Riverside freshman reserve Christine Pascua missed two free throws with 15 seconds left. "We were trying to run a play for me to go across the baseline and come out and get a shot, but nobody knew what we were doing. So [sophomore guard Megan Hanson] just dribbled down [from the top of the key] and I was just wide open for that shot."
As Hanson, dribbled to the elbow, Engeln floated to the left wing where she caught a pass and began to launch from beyond the arc. But, with a set shot that is released from just above her chest [she had one last-second shot blocked earlier this season], Engeln had to hesitate as a defender charged at her. She leaned a shade to her right, dodging the defender's hand, before releasing the shot that went in.
"I got open and just took that shot off balance, on one foot," Engeln said. "I didn't think that was going in, but I'm happy. I guess it worked, so I was pretty excited."
Engeln finished with 20 points. She was three for 11 from three-point range, but made her final two attempts from threedom.
Hanson chipped in eight assists and 12 points, while freshman Jenna Arnett had 13 points and six rebounds.
Freshman Jalecia Wilson had a career-high eight points and 10 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench .
"[Wilson] played the played the game of her career and gave us a great lift off the bench," Thornton said.
OCC was down, 10-2, rallied to lead, but was behind, 33-23, at halftime as RCC finished the half on a 12-0 run.
The Tigers upped the lead to 42-27, before OCC began chipping away and eventually regained the lead.
Arnett had five points in overtime, in which OCC made four of seven field-goal tries.
OCC posted a 33-26 rebounding edge after halftime to help come out on top.
Orange Empire Conference
Orange Coast 70, Riverside 64 (OT)
RCC – Wohlk 16, Chang 4, Frohmander 14, Underwood 15, Ezell 9, Pascua 6.
3-pt. goal – Ezell 1, Wohlk 1.
Fouled out – Wohlk.
OCC – Arnett 13, Nisma 0, Engeln 20, Hanson 12, Maldonado 2, Wilson 8, Terukina 6, Bartel 6, Angel 3.
3-pt. goal – Engeln 2, Hanson 2, Terukina 2.
Fouled out – None.
Halftime – 33-23, RCC.