LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall women's basketball notched a statement victory in its first game back from the holiday break on Friday afternoon, beating out No. 20 NYU 56-55. The non-conference victory, F&M's first against a ranked opponent since 2012, improved the Diplomats' record to 4-5 on the season, while the Violets sustained their first loss of the year and fell to 8-1.
Down 55-53, F&M's upset opportunity seemed to have passed as Haley Pilone's go-ahead three-pointer rimmed out with 33 seconds left. However, a clutch offensive rebound from Lindsey Powers gave Pilone a second chance, knocking down a tough baseline jumper with 10 ticks remaining to even the score at 55.
Pilone then made a play on defense, intercepting the ensuing inbound pass and finding Powers, who was fouled with 1.7 seconds remaining. The sophomore missed her first attempt from the charity stripe, but sank the second to give the Diplomats a 56-55 lead. Out of timeouts, the Violets were forced to go the length of the floor, and were unable to get a shot off in the time remaining.
The win came after a late comeback as NYU took a 43-40 lead early in the fourth thanks to a layup from Lauren Brown. A Pilone three with 5:38 remaining tied the score at 45, but the Violets regained control with a 7-2 run to take a 52-47 edge at 3:13. The five-point deficit remained until the 1:40 mark, when Erica Brown scored on a step-back jumper and Pilone connected from long range to tie the game at 53, setting up the late drama.
Pilone tied the game high with 14 points, while Powers and Erica Brown also reached double figures with 11 each. Kristin Hamill notched four points along with a game-high 11 rebounds, and Sarah Pisani finished the night with eight assists.
The scores remained close in the early going, with F&M taking a slim 10-8 lead thanks to five straight points from Erica Brown. NYU responded with four quick points in the final minute of the first quarter, taking a 12-10 lead into the first intermission.
That lead grew to as much as six at 18-12, but eight straight points from Powers cut the deficit to 23-22 with 4:33 left in the second. Four points from Sarah Haddon in the remaining minutes lifted the Diplomats to a 30-28 advantage at halftime.
The Violets erased the deficit early in the third, and neither team was able to build a lead of more than four in the quarter.
The Diplomats look to make it three wins in a row tomorrow, hosting Randolph-Macon at 1:00 p.m. for the final contest of the 2016 calendar year.