UNION, N.J. (2/20/16) – William Paterson University escaped with a 91-83 overtime victory over the Kean University women's basketball team in the opening round of the NJAC Championship on Saturday. Kean senior Eden Obou posted her first-ever double-double in her final collegiate game and freshman Marajiah Bacon poured in 37 points for the Cougars.
Kean fell behind 26-12 after the first quarter. The Cougars were whistled for nine personal fouls in the first 10 minutes. But in the second period, Kean outscored the Pioneers 18-7 to make the halftime deficit just three and take all the momentum in the locker room. Marajiah Bacon – who is the nation's the nation's leading scorer - had 12 points in the first half to lead all players.
Obou provided a big spark off the bench in the first half: the senior was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, hit her only field goal and led the team with six rebounds in the first half.
The Cougar defense was also impressive in the second period, chopping the WPU offensive output by 70 percent.
Kean got the lead to one a few times in the second period, but WPU - specifically Brittany Harden - seemingly always had an answer. Harden finished with 26 points for the Pioneers.
The Cougars finally tied the game after trailing for 33 minutes on a coast-to-coast layup by Jaquetta Owens (26 points, five assists). But WPU answered with six minutes to go and the stage was set for a nip-and-tuck final quarter. The lead changed five times and there were three ties in the fourth.
Bacon (pictured left) hit a trey at 3:42 to snap the deadlock, and scored the next four Cougar points as well to keep Kean ahead down the stretch. Owens added a pair of free throws to get Kean a three-point lead with 16 seconds to go.
With William Paterson trailing by three, and three Cougars draped on her, Jackie Rodriguez nailed a triple from the corner with 12 seconds left to force overtime.
WPU shot 62 percent from the floor in OT, but perhaps more importantly, made 10-of-11 free throws in the final period to finally put down the Cougars, who had three players foul out of the game. Paterson scored 20 points in those five extra minutes.
Obou saved her finest game for her finale. She was 3-for-4 from the field, 6-for-7 from the free-throw line and posted game-highs in both rebounds (13) and steals (5). Impressively, she committed just one turnover and no personal fouls in 31 minutes of work in what was otherwise a whistle-filled game.
Alex Milne of Paterson posted a double-double of her own with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
The Cougars end the season with a 15-11 record and hosted a postseason game for the first time in two years.