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Holopainen’s three with three seconds left lifts ODU over LA Tech, 72-71

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odu logoAn Annika Holopainen three-pointer with just three seconds left in the contest lifted the Lady Monarchs (14-10, 7-6) over the Lady Techsters (14-11, 9-5) by a score of 72-71 in a televised game on Sunday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center. Holopainen led the way for Old Dominion, netting 26 points on 10-15 shooting, drilling six of nine three-point attempts. Prior to Sunday’s contest, Holopainen had scored 27 points this season.

Ashley Betz-White delivered a layup with 2:33 to play in the game, giving Old Dominion a 67-63 advantage. LA Tech answered right back, scoring six consecutive points, taking a 69-67 lead on two made free-throws with 1:07 left.

Jennie Simms then tied the game at 69-69 on a made lay-in with 52 seconds remaining in regulation. With 20 seconds left, LT’s Kelia Shelton hit a running floater giving the Lady Techsters a 71-69 advantage. It was then the Helsinki, Finland-native drilled a contested three-pointer from the right side, giving ODU the 72-71 win.

Holopainen also hauled down five rebounds, dished out three assists and tallied two steals in the winning effort. Also in double figures for the Lady Monarchs were: Jennie Simms (14 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists), Destinee Young (13 points and 10 rebounds) and Tiffany Minor (11 points and six assists).

In the 21st ever meeting between the Lady Monarchs and Lady Techsters, it was LA Tech’s Senior Day for five players, all whom started Sunday’s contest. The ballgame also marked Old Dominion’s first visit to Ruston since 1991.

Ije Ajemba recorded her first start of her young collegiate career, but it was the Lady Techsters who stormed out to an 8-3 lead, as all eight of LA Tech’s points came from within the paint. LT extended its advantage to 16-8 by the second media timeout of the first half (11:31).

Holopainen brought the Lady Monarchs back after drilling her first six shots from the floor and all three of her deep attempts, netting 15 points in an eight minute span, giving Old Dominion to a 33-29 lead with 3:36 to play in the opening 20 minutes.

In a first half that ODU trailed by as many as 12 points, Holopainen sparked the Lady Monarchs off the bench, drilling eight of her first nine first half field goal attempts and four of her first five three-point shots, netting 20 first half points. Jennie Simms chipped in eight points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the first half.

42 first half points by ODU bests last Saturday’s then-season high 40 in the first versus UTEP. This, coming after a season-low 14 first half points at Southern Miss on Thursday. Old Dominion’s bench outscored LA Tech’s 22-13 in the first half, which experienced six lead changes and three ties.

For the game, Old Dominion connected on 44.8% (30-67) from the floor, 50% (10-20) from deep and 40% (2-5) from the charity stripe. LA Tech went 25-60 (41.7%) from the floor for the ballgame, 4-20 (20%) from three and 17-21 (81%) from the free-throw line.

Brandi Wingate led the way for the Lady Techsters off the bench, scoring 21 points on 8-11 shooting. Also in double-figures for LA Tech were: Whitney Frazier (15 points and 10 rebounds), Kelia Shelton (15 points and nine rebounds) and Chrisstasia Walter (12 points, seven assists and four steals).

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