RPI nips Salisbury in overtime, 67-66, to open Optimist Classic

RPI nips Salisbury in overtime, 67-66, to open Optimist Classic

SALISBURY, Md. – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Hillary McKinley sank a free throw with 3:02 remaining in overtime and the Engineers held on to top the Salisbury University women's basketball team, 67-66, in the opening game of the 2011 Optimist Classic at Maggs Physical Activities Center on Thursday.

RPI (3-2) led by as many as six with 1:11 remaining but the Sea Gulls battled back with a Lexi Kebetz layup with 41 seconds left and a three-pointer from KC Curran as time expired.

Kebetz scored a game-high 18 points for Salisbury (2-3), pacing a group of three in double figures while McKinley had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead four in double digits for the Engineers.

Josie Hildebrand knocked down a jumper in the final minute of the first half to give SU its largest lead of the game at 29-20 before the Engineers scored the final five points of the half, a run capped by a Lauren Hayes three-pointer.

Knotted at 31-31 with 18:09 to play in the second period, McKinley had three points in a 6-0 spurt to give RPI control of the game. The SU deficit grew to 53-40 with 6:49 left when Nicole Monroe hit four straight free throws, but the Sea Gulls rallied to close the gap to 54-52 with three minutes to play on the strength of six points by Meghan Dunn.

Whitney Kolakowski then tied the game with a layup from Anna Hackett with 1:13 left to send the game to the extra session.

Hackett and Dunn each finished with 10 points for the Gulls while Hildebrand and Kolakowski pulled down 10 boards apiece.

RPI shot 24-for-61 (39.3 percent) from the field and SU went 25-of-65 (38.5) from the floor.

SU outrebounded the visitor, 49-38, and had two less turnovers (20-18).

Salisbury returns to action in the Optimist Classic Saturday at 1 p.m., when it will take on Southern Virginia University.

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