NORTHFIELD, Minn. -- The Carleton College women’s basketball team’s final contest of the season certainly was a memorable one. The home team, which honored its four seniors during a pre-game ceremony, put up quite the fight against the playoff bound squad from Hamline University, eventually falling, 66-60 in overtime. Junior Emma Purfeest (River Falls, Wis./River Falls) and sophomore Skylar Tsutsui (Northridge, Calif./Harvard Westlake School) put up 14 points apiece for the Knights, but the big performances were not enough to send the senior class off with a victory.
The focus of the day was certainly on the squad’s four seniors: Akemi Arzouman (Irvine, Calif./University), Megan Bakken (Waterville, Minn./W-E-M), Cassie Mullen (Seattle, Wash./Bush) and Jessa Youso (Virginia, Minn./Virginia).
In the first half, the defenses for both teams dominated. Carleton limited Hamline to just 23-percent shooting, while the Pipers held the Knights to only a 19-percent clip.
After falling behind 10-5 over the opening three minutes of the contest, Carleton put together a quick 7-0 response, capped by a Youso jumper from the wing with 14:00 left in the first half, to go up 12-10. That jump shot, however, proved to be the Knights’ last score from the field during the opening period.
The home squad’s 14-minute drought from the field was certainly frustrating, but it did not prove insurmountable. Thanks to stellar defense and excellent free throw shooting (10-of-11 in the first half), Carleton kept the game close. Over one stretch, the Knights held the visitors scoreless over nearly seven minutes and trailed by a single tally, 22-21, at halftime.
Coming out of intermission, both sides began to score points. The Knights established their largest lead of the contest after an 8-0 run put them on top, 35-31, with 11:44 to play in the second half. That lead, however, did not last for long, and the rest of the half was tightly contested.
Michele Arima (Fy./Valencia, Calif./West Ranch) scored 11 of her career-best 13 points in the second half to help Carleton keep pace.
The Pipers opened up a six-point advantage—their largest of regulation—with 2:43 left on the clock, but there was no quit in a Carleton squad fighting for its seniors on their big day.
Tsutsui knocked down a pair of free throws to make it four-point game. Purfeerst did the same with 0:37 to go, bringing the score to 54-52. She then came up with a great defensive play to force a jump ball with 20 seconds left, gave Carleton the ball and a chance to stay alive, down just 54-52.
The Knights got the ball in Tsutsui’s hands. The guard drove the lane and hit a tough hook-shot knot the game up with just nine ticks left. Carleton’s defense held one more time, thanks to a Jenny Ramey steal, and the game went to overtime with the score tied, 54-54.
During the five-minute overtime, the defenses cracked down once again as the teams went a combined 3-for-13 from the field. Hamline made 8-of-9 free throws, compared to 4-of-8 for the Knights, and secured the six-point victory and the No. 5 seed in next week’s conference tournament.
Jenny Ramey (Jr./Cottage Grove, Minn./New Life Academy) was the fourth Knight in double figures, accounting for 10 points.
Hamline’s Steph Pilgrim poured 16 of her game-high 22 points after halftime and finished the regular season as the top scorer in the MIAC at 16.2 points per contest. Jordan Sammons added 18 points and six steals for the Pipers.