SALISBURY, Md. – Junior Lauren Rothfeld came through with four clutch free throws in overtime to give the Salisbury University women's basketball team a 71-68 win over Methodist University Friday night on the first day of the Optimist Tournament.
Rothfeld led the way for Salisbury, scoring a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Methodist battled back, scoring five straight points to take an 8-7 lead before Salisbury scored four-straight points to go up 12-8.
The run was led by Rothfeld, who got the ball from McDonagh and drained a three in front of the Methodist bench on the left wing after a steal from sophomore Dee Terry.
Methodist got back to within one point, making the score 12-11, until Terry found Josephine Noonan in the paint, catching the ball while running around the crease and finishing with a layup on the left side to put the score at 14-11.
The Monarchs went on a 5-0 run to end the quarter, including a three-point shot from Alexis Wallace, taking a 16-14 lead into the second.
Salisbury started off the second quarter scoring the first four points to take an 18-16 lead, thanks to a jumper from senior Julia McLaughlin and a pair of free throws from Grubb.
After two Monarch free throws tied the contest at 18-18, Rothfeld made a layup while getting fouled and finished the three-point play with a free throw to take a 21-18 lead.
Methodist went on a run of its own jumping out to a 29-23 advantage with just over five minutes left in the quarter.
A quick, transion layup by Noonan and another layup by sophomore Paige Bryce helped chip away at the lead, but the Monarchs stayed ahead and went into halftime with a 35-32 advantage over the Sea Gulls.
Similar to the second quarter, Salisbury started off hot, posting a 36-35 lead less than a minute into the second half after layups from Grubb and Noonan.
The Sea Gulls went down 40-38 after a spurt from the Monarchs, but a jump shot from McLaughlin started an 8-0 run to go back up 46-40. During the spurt, Rothfeld nailed a jumper from the left elbow, and Terry stole the ball just past midcourt, finishing with a layup from the left side.
Salisbury played strong defense in the third, causing eight Methodist turnovers, and took a 48-47 lead into the fourth.
Two-and-a-half minutes into the quarter, the Sea Gulls went up by three, 52-49, after sophomore Kelsie Bacon gathered an offensive board on the left wing just outside of the paint and finished with a layup.
Layups by McLaughlin and Bryce helped keep a three-point lead for Salisbury at 60-57, but Methodist tallied four-straight to go up 61-60 with 2:44 left.
Rothfeld nailed a floater inside the paint after collecting a pass from Bryce to tie the score at 65-65, and with 17 seconds left, McDonagh made a huge play on defense, causing Allison Dones to travel after tying up the ball, sending the game into overtime.
With just over a minute to go, and the score knotted at 67-67, Rothfeld grabbed an offensive rebound under the right side of the basket and got fouled on the way up on a layup attempt. She made both free throws to give Salisbury a 69-67 lead.
The Monarchs cut the lead to 69-68, but Rothfeld got fouled again, and came through with two more clutch free throws to go up 71-68. Rothfeld's free throws, along with strong defense down the stretch, made the difference as the Sea Gulls held on to win, 71-68.
Rothfeld posted a team-high 19 points, while McLaughlin tallied 18 points for the Sea Gulls. Noonan also scored in double figures, with 10 points on the night.
Salisbury will take on the winner of the Marywood University and Apprentice School game on Saturday, November 21 for the championship game of the Optimist Tournament. That game is set for 3 p.m.