By Lisa Byers
There have been some big moments at the David V. Wise Center over the last several years. But for the Allegheny women’s basketball team, few of those moments have been bigger than what took place Saturday afternoon.
Marina Scarantino hit a jumper to tie the score at 47-47 with a minute to play and then added a layup with 15 seconds to go to lead Allegheny to a 49-47 upset win over Kenyon.
The loss is just the second for the Ladies in North Coast Athletic Conference play this season. Their only other loss came to No. 1 DePauw back on Jan. 9.
For Allegheny, the win is its first over Kenyon since Jan. 16, 2010. The Ladies had won the last four meetings by an average of 18.5 points.
The Gators moved into a tie with Denison for third place in the NCAC with the win. Allegheny is now 11-8 overall and 6-4 in the NCAC. Kenyon is now 14-5 overall and 8-2 in the conference.
“My players know how good Kenyon is,” Allegheny head coach Kate Costanzo said. “We hadn’t beaten them in three years. They know how good Kenyon is and we executed our game plan to a tee and our defense came through and really gave us a shot.
“It’s a really exciting win.”
Scarantino played a pretty big role in that win.
Scarantino began the season as a starter. But Allegheny’s freshmen exceeded expectations early on and on Dec. 1 Scarantino was replaced in the starting lineup by Rachel Vigliotti, who has maintained that position since with no ill feelings from Scarantino.
Scarantino simply continued about her business and yesterday she stole the show.
“Where did she come from?” Constanzo said. “Confident, right? She plays the game like we know she is capable of. She is a confident player and she works hard. And to have somebody to step up and not be afraid to take those shots and drain them … That was really nice.”
Scarantino finished the game with 12 points. She had six in the first half. Two of her baskets pulled the Gators to within a point, including a jumper with 1:15 to play in the opening half that was part of a 7-0 run that gave Allegheny a 26-25 lead at the break.
The lead was the Gators’ first of the game. Kenyon opened the contest with a 6-0 run and led 25-19 with 3:09 to play in the first half. Vigliotti hit a 3-pointer off a pass from Daryl Ford at 2:42 to pull the Gators to within three (25-22).
“It was one of those situation where you almost didn’t want a halftime,” Costanzo said. “We had momentum and then we had to take that break.”
Kenyon took back the momentum with a basket by Maggie Boelter that gave the Ladies the lead (27-26) to start the second half, but the Gators responded and eventually grabbed a five-point advantage (35-30).
It then came down to big defensive stops and a couple clutch baskets by Scarantino.
Allegheny went cold offensively early in the second half and did not score for nearly two minutes. That allowed the Ladies to fight their way back and take a 39-35 lead.
Allegheny twice worked itself out of four-point holes down the stretch. The Gators trailed 47-43 with 7:38 to play. Ford pulled Allegheny to within two (47-45). Vigliotti drew a charge on Kenyon’s ensuing possession and Scarantino made good with a jumper tying the game at 47-47.
Ford then came up with a steal and Scarantino knocked down another shot to give the Gators the lead. Fourteen seconds later the Gator bench stormed the court to celebrate one of their biggest wins in recent history.
“The feeling is obviously great right now,” Scarantino said. “They are No. 2 in our conference and no one really expected us to win. So coming out and getting a win like this is pretty amazing.”
Ford led the Gators with 13 points and nine rebounds. Scarantino added four assists to her line. Vigliotti also had four assists to go along with eight points.
Kayla Ernst led the Ladies with 15 points and 11 rebounds.