Notre Dame falls short of Holiday Classic title in OT

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Notre Dame's Meghan Dohogne, center, attempts to grab the ball from Farmington's Brittany Gladbach during the first half of the championship game of the Saint Francis Medical Center Holiday Classic on Tuesday at the Show Me Center. Farmington's Holli Hoehn was also on the play.

Notre Dame's defense of its Saint Francis Holiday Classic championship ran out of steam at the Show Me Center on Tuesday night, as Farmington turned back the top-seeded Bulldogs 59-51 in overtime.

After Notre Dame scored the opening basket of overtime, its first basket after being outscored 6-1 in the final 3 minutes of regulation, it was all Farmington with 10 unanswered points.

The Knightettes only scored two baskets from the field in the extra session, the key one inside with 1:35 remaining after a nearly 1-minute possession to make the score 54-51. From there, Farmington pulled away from the free throw line as Notre Dame continued its funk.

"Unfortunately we had some key turnovers, made some bad passes and they capitalized on it," said Notre Dame coach Renee Peters.

The Bulldogs had won the tournament last year in Peters' inaugural season by beating Farmington in the final.

That game marked the emergence of then-sophomore Jane Morrill, the SEMO Conference co-player of the year last year who was at times dominating again Tuesday. The 6-foot junior had three blocked shots in the first half, but Notre Dame still fell behind 25-18 in the second period and was down by five at halftime.

Morrill scored seven of her team-high 19 points in the third quarter to help Notre Dame forge a 40-37 lead. Her three-point play with 5 seconds to go in the period set the margin.

Morrill had another three-point play, with 4:50 to go, as part of a run of five straight points midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Bulldogs a 48-43 lead with 3 minutes to play.

But Farmington forced turnovers on consecutive possessions and senior point guard, Taylor Jensen, who finished with 12 for the Knightettes, scored twice to pull Farmington within one.

Notre Dame scored only on Alex Fowler's free throw, and Molly Barnes had two free throws for Farmington with 50 seconds to play in regulation. No one scored after that as Farmington missed a shot at the buzzer.

In overtime, Notre Dame's Meghan Dohogne scored immediately off the tip but the Bulldogs' next three possessions resulted in a miss, a lane violation and a turnover as Farmington took the lead and pulled away.

Jensen had a three-point play in the period and ran Farmington's patient offense once it had the lead.

"She's very good," Peters said. "At the end, she got the ball and took care of it."

Barnes led Farmington with 16, while Brittany Gladbach hit three 3-pointers and scored 11.

Joining Morrill in double figures for Notre Dame was Fowler with 12.

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