(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) - Trailing by one with 11 seconds to play, the Carnegie Mellon University women's basketball team turned to junior Liza Otto (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) who converted a driving layup for the game-winning basket, as the Tartans defeated Case Western Reserve University to open University Athletic Association (UAA) play, 59-58. The Tartans move to 9-2, 1-0 on the year while the Spartans fall to 6-6 and 0-1.
Case Western led by as many as 10 points in the second period before the Tartans toughened up their defense and clawed back to take their first lead since the 2:24 mark of the first period with 5:19 to go in the game. Otto gave the Tartans that lead, 52-51, with a driving jumper in the paint and on the team's next possession, sophomore Lisa Murphy (McLean, Va./McLean) put in two free throws to close an eight-point run giving the Tartans a 54-51 advantage with 4:32 to play.
With 11 seconds to play, Case Western's Brooke Orcutt drove to the hoop and was fouled. She made both attempts, giving the Spartans a 58-57 lead.
The Tartans didn't panic, driving up court with freshman Anna Novak (San Antonio, Texas/Alamo Heights) getting the ball to Otto cutting across the lane. Otto then took a few dribbles and got up the shot over a Spartan defender with two seconds to play.
With no timeouts, Case Western tried to get up court to get off a shot but the clock expired just before the ball was released by Amanda Germer, giving the Tartans the victory.
In the first half, both teams traded points until a three-pointer by Orcutt tied the game at 19-19 with 7:18 to play.
The Tartans rattled off eight straight to take a 27-19 advantage, starting with a three-pointer by senior MacKenzie Boyd (Plano, Texas/Plano West) and closing with a trey from junior Lindsay Poss (Poolesville, Md./Poolesville) from the corner.
A timeout by Case stopped the Tartans' run and fueled its own 15-2 run to close the final 5:30, as the visitors held a 34-29 lead at the break. Four of the Spartans' 12 points off turnovers for the half came during the closing first-half minutes.
Murphy was the game's leading scorer with 18 points as she converted 6-of-6 from the free throw line and six shots inside the paint. Otto finished with 16 points while Poss tallied nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Spartans were led by Laura Mummey's 13 points and eight rebounds. Germer dished off six assists while Berit Eppard had five assists.
The Tartans shot under 40% for just the third time all season while they won the battle of the boards for the 10th game.
Next up is UAA opponent Brandeis University (8-4, 0-1) on Friday, January 16 at 6:00 p.m. at home in Skibo Gymnasium.