July 20, 2024
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YU Women’s Basketball Rallies To Win Overtime Thriller

(yumacs.com) The Yeshiva University women’s basketball team earned a thrilling victory over Five Towns College, 75-67 in overtime, at the Five Towns College Sound gymnasium on Thursday evening. That marks the second overtime victory the Maccabees pulled off this season as they advance to 5-7.

Yeshiva trailed by five, 64-59, with just a minute left to play in regulation time. Sophomore Shai Rahamim buried a key 3-point field goal with 48 ticks left on the clock to pull the Macs closer. Senior Miriam Kazlow came up big on the next defensive possession by intercepting a pass attempt by Five Towns and feeding the ball to junior Yuval Nitzan, who drew a foul with 21.7 seconds left. She went to the free throw line and buried two clutch shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 64 points apiece. That would be the score after regulation. The Maccabees were able to outscore the Sound, 11-3 in the overtime period to earn the gutsy come-from-behind road victory.

“This team has a never give up mentality and plays to the end,” Yeshiva University Head Coach Bill Zatulskis said. “They have overcome so much. I’m proud of them.”

Leading the way for the Maccabees was Nitzan, who netted a team-high 24 points, while blocking two shots, forcing two steals, grabbing just as many rebounds and dishing out a pair of assists. Rahamim added 23 points with three steals and three boards. Junior Daniella Rothman had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while blocking a shot.

“This was definitely one of the most exciting games we’ve had,” Rothman said. “Our team never gave up and stayed calm and determined the whole time. I’m so proud of everyone and our tremendous effort.”

In the opening quarter, Nitzan drained a shot from deep to propel Yeshiva to an 8-7 advantage with 6:50 to go. However, the Sound countered with an 8-2 run to go up by a score of 15-10. With YU down by four, Rahamim buried a shot from well beyond the arc to slice the Macs’ deficit to 15-14 with 1:29 to go. The Sound added a basket to take a 17-14 advantage after 10 minutes of play.

After Five Towns opened the scoring in the second, Yeshiva went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. Rothman put the Maccabees in front, 20-19, by burying a hook shot with 6:46 left until the half. Nitzan continued the run by converting a layup, while being fouled, and then adding the free throw to extend the Blue and White’s lead. Rothman capped off YU’s blitz with a jump shot to make it 25-19 in favor of the Maccabees with 4:25 remaining in the period. After Five Towns scored, Kazlow converted a jump shot to cap off a 4-0 run to give YU its largest lead of the half, at 29-21. However, the Sound scored the final six points of the stanza to shrink YU’s benefit to 29-27 heading into the intermission.

Five Towns started the third quarter by knotting the game at 29. Rahamim responded by burying a 3-point field goal to put YU back in front. The Sound briefly tilted momentum into their favor by going on a 7-1 run to go up, 36-33, with 6:48 to go. After each team exchanged baskets, Rahamim drained two 3-point field goals to highlight a 10-1 run by the Maccabees and give them a 45-39 advantage with 2:23 left. Five Towns once again turned the tide around by scoring seven of the period’s final nine points. Yeshiva went into the fourth quarter up, 47-46.

The Maccabees trailed, 53-52, in the final period of regulation time but a 3-point field goal by Nitzan put Yeshiva back in front by two with 6:17 to go. Later in the stanza, the Sound went on a 5-0 run to go up, 60-57. Nitzan disrupted the opposing team’s momentum by draining a jump shoot to shrink YU’s deficit to 60-59 with 3:08 remaining. Senior Essence Rayford countered with a layup to inflate the home team’s lead to three, on the next possession. With 1:01 to go in the fourth period, Five Towns sophomore Nikki Kemp drained a jumper to put YU in a 64-59 disadvantage.

However, the Maccabees showed the same perseverance during the final period as they have all season. Rahamim kicked off YU’s clutch run with a 3-point basket and then forced a steal on the defensive end. Nitzan drew a foul with 21 seconds to go and went to the line with a chance to tie the game. She drained both crucial free throws to even the contest. Each team was held scoreless during the remainder of regulation time and overtime was needed.

The Maccabees’ momentum carried over into the extra session as Rothman buried two jump shots to propel Yeshiva to a 68-65 benefit with 3:16 to go. Later in overtime, with YU clutching a 70-67 lead with 1:38 remaining, Rahamim went to the line and cashed in on two big shots to give the Maccabees more breathing room. Yeshiva was able to pad its lead with free throws the rest of the way and went on to win the overtime thriller, 75-67.

For the Maccabees, juniors Renee Benjamini and Gabrielle Kupferman each registered four points with five rebounds, with the former dishing out two assists. Senior Jennie Mellman snatched five boards and netted both her free throw attempts, while Kazlow tallied two points, just as many rebounds, a pair of assists and two steals.

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