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Land's 3 helps Rams defeat West Liberty

January 12, 2007|by JOHN O'BRIEN / Staff Correspondent

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Molly Land was sure of only two things while her potential game-tying 3-pointer was in the air Thursday night during Shepherd University's game against West Liberty.

First, she hadn't made a shot all night.

Second, that this one was going in.

Land's 26-footer falling out of bounds tied the game at 80 and helped lift the Rams to a 94-87 win, helping to keep Shepherd undefeated in West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

"I was just trying to get it up there," said Land, a 5-foot-11 junior guard. "When I shot it, I felt pretty good about it going in."

West Liberty (8-3, 2-1) missed 7 of 8 free throws in the final minute of regulation to key the Rams' rally. The Hilltoppers led 79-73 with Julie Cessna on the line with 58 seconds left.

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Cessna and Lisa Perry both missed front ends of one-and-ones, and Rebecca Frece scored a layup to cut the lead to four for the Rams (8-2, 4-0).

Perry missed two free throws, and Frece countered with a pair that made it 79-77 with 23 seconds left.

Cessna missed two more free throws for West Liberty, but Frece's pass intended for a cutting Laura Harkins went out of bounds with 11 seconds left.

The Rams, though, were given another chance when Charity Street hit only 1 of 2 free throws to push the lead to 80-77.

Rams coach Jodie Runner inserted Land, who had been nursing an apparent back injury after taking a charge. She was 0 for 4 from the floor at that point.

On the inbounds play, she threw up a straightaway 26-footer that hit the rim hard and bounced to the right wing.

Having battled to get her own rebound, she threw up a two-handed fallaway with 1 second left that went through the net as she was regaining her balance out of bounds.

"I don't even know," Land said. "She kind of pushed me on the rebound. I caught it and - I don't even know - I kind of, like, flung it up there."

The two teams went back and forth in overtime, with Harkins finally giving Shepherd the lead for good with a turnaround jumper that made it 88-87 with 1:50 left.

Frece followed by stealing an inbounds pass and feeding Krissy Grosselin for a layup, and Camille Wilmer and Frece each added a pair of free throws while the Rams held West Liberty scoreless for the final 2:10.

Frece led Shepherd with 23 points and five assists. She shot 7 of 10 from the floor. Harkins added 14 points and 14 rebounds, and Danielle Costello and Tiffany Acker each scored 10 points.

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