The Roger Williams University women’s basketball team faced a familiar rival, the Salve Regina University Seahawks, on Tuesday night to complete their first postseason win. The Hawks soared over the Seahawks in a close 51-47 double-overtime victory.
As seen all season, the Seahawks came out of the gate fighting hard on defense, even showcasing some backcourt defense before the end of the first quarter. It was clear that this was enough to rattle the Hawks when Salve protected the basket enough to hold Roger Williams to five points in the second quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, Salve had maxed out on their allowed team fouls forcing Roger Williams to start scoring from the line. The Seahawks realized what this was doing and settled in the second quarter only allowing one team foul within the last three minutes on junior, Mariah Nicholas.
Head coach Kelly Thompson said that during half time, they “talked about the process. So for us that means playing good defense which usually leads to better opportunities on offense. We got a few good stops to start the half and that helped get us going a bit.”
When the second-half began, Roger Williams was behind Salve 27-19. After a few quick layups and a couple outside shots, the Hawks were able to reach 30 points just before the Seahawks. However, Salve’s offense proved to be just as tough as their defense on Tuesday as they scored another nine points throughout the quarter to make the score 36-33 with Salve on top going into the fourth. Yet, they were still not aggressive enough to triumph over Roger Williams.
The battle continued into the fourth quarter when both teams nearly reached their foul limits. Tight defense from each team resulted in a six-minute scoreless period. Senior Bridget Quilty ended the suspense by banking both free throws with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter for a 39-38 lead. When Salve evened the playing field on a free throw, Roger Williams could not retaliate on their last possession, thus leading to the first overtime period.
In the first overtime, both teams expended their energy managing three ties and two lead changes. Salve was able to tie the first overtime at 46-all with 1:29 left on a 3-pointer putting the pressure on Roger Williams.
When asked if she ever thought Salve had secured the win, Thompson said: “It’s hard to not let that thought creep in when the ball isn’t bouncing your way, but as soon as you allow yourself to think that way, it’s taking your focus away from what needs to happen next, and that’s my job.”
In the second overtime, the Hawks brought even more energy to play tighter defense and quicker offense against Salve. This showed through the four fast breaks Roger Williams had Tuesday evening. Their new defense kept Salve to only one point earned in the second overtime against Roger Williams’s five finished free throws.
Thompson said, “I thought Mariah Nicholas made some great plays throughout the game, particularly when our offense was stagnant.”
This proved to be true with Nicholas’s 16 total points and 10 rebounds throughout the game.
Particularly in overtime, two names stuck out for Thompson and those were junior Anna Walther and junior Rebecca Ritchie who both had big plays in the second overtime to help continue their postseason run.
“This time of year, you take a win no matter what it looks like. I give credit to Salve for disrupting our offense and playing tough from start to finish. They really played great,” said Thompson. “It’s nice to get this one out of the way so we can get ready for a tough opponent, WNEU. We need all of the great fans back again.”
Come support your Hawks in the semifinals game this Thursday evening at 7 p.m. against third-seeded Western New England University.