WESTMINSTER, Md. – In the waning seconds of a tie game, junior Rachael Rybak (Reisterstown, Md./Franklin) heaved a 27-foot prayer to avoid overtime. Her shot drew nothing but air; however, freshman Emma Wingerd (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) raced under the basket, grabbed the ball out of the air and scooped it back up and in, lifting McDaniel to a 76-74 Centennial Conference (CC) women's basketball victory over No. 24 Johns Hopkins on Wednesday.
Wingerd finished off a full stat line with 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots for the Green Terror (10-13, 7-10 CC), who got a team-best 16 points from Rybak.
Chantel Mattiola recorded a game-high 21 points to pace the Blue Jays (19-3, 14-3 CC), who entered the game allowing an average of just 48.9 points per game. Alex Vassila added 13 points and 11 rebounds while Stephanie Fong chipped in 11 points and six assists.
Trailing 65-62 on a single Haley Bush free throw, Rybak hit both attempts from the charity stripe with 5:12 to play to pull the hosts within one.
On McDaniel's next trip down the floor, Rybak drilled her career-high third triple to give her team a 67-65 advantage with 4:40 to play.
A Bush jumper from the block and single Vassila free throw turned the advantage once again to Johns Hopkins.
A Perez layup and Rybak free throw once again put the Green Terror on top by two with 2:27 to play before two Perez free throws stretched the advantage to 72-68 with 1:36 showing.
Mattiola drained a trey to slice the deficit to one before two Wingerd free throws with 27.8 seconds on the clock pushed the lead back to three.
Out of a timeout with 24.6 seconds left, the Blue Jays missed a game-tying attempt from the left wing before Vassila corralled the rebound and kicked out to Katie Brooks on the right wing for a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds to play, setting up the final heroics from Rybak and Wingerd.
Behind seven points from Franklin, McDaniel built a 9-3 lead through the game's first 3:02.
A Nikki Ostrow (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) baseline jumper stretched the first-half lead to as many as 10 at 17-7 with 12:51 to play.
Still leading 19-9 just 1:10 later, three straight points from Vassila sparked a 10-0 burst that knotted the game with 9:12 on the clock.
A Meg Biggart (Darien, Conn./Darien) 3-pointer and Wingerd free throw returned a four-point lead to McDaniel with 7:57 to play.
Four ties and five lead changes later, Perez drained a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining to make it a 37-36 Green Terror advantage at the break.
McDaniel stretched the lead back to as many as seven through the first eight minutes of the second half.
Two Allie Eader (Ijamsville, Md./Linganore) free throws with 12:45 showing made it a 52-45 game.
A Lauren Ballenger (Silver Spring, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) jumper gave the Green Terror a 56-51 edge before the Blue Jays made a run.
Maggie Fruehan hit the second of two free throws with 10:44 on the clock before McDaniel was whistled for a foul 34 seconds later on a Mattiola 3-point attempt. A technical foul was also called, giving Mattiola five free-throw attempts. She converted all five to turn the four-point deficit into a one-point lead.
A Fong three-point play and Brooks jumper capped an 11-0 run that gave Johns Hopkins a 62-56 lead with 7:56 on the clock.
Eader finished with five assists, four rebounds and three steals to go with her two points. Franklin also contributed three steals and three assists.
McDaniel returns to action at Muhlenberg on Saturday. Game time is 2 p.m.