NCAA Third Round: St. Thomas (MN) 61, Amherst 58 (OT)

NCAA Third Round: St. Thomas (MN) 61, Amherst 58 (OT)

Courtesy of Amherst Sports Information

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Two-time defending national champion Amherst fell in an overtime thriller at St. Thomas (MN), 61-58,  at Schoenecker Arena in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Cam Hendricks sank a 3-pointer as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime and keep Amherst's hopes of a three-peat alive, but St. Thomas (29-1) rode a game-high 28 points from Hannah Spaulding to post its 19th straight victory, improving to 16-0 at home.

Maddy Eck scored 26 points, eclipsing the 1,100-point mark for her career. Courtney Resch 'added 14 points and made four 3-pointers. She nearly replicated Hendricks's heroics, as her 3-point attempt at the end of overtime hung on the rim before bouncing out to end the season for Amherst (25-4).

Amherst overcame back-to-back 3-pointers by Kaia Porter that gave St. Thomas a five-point lead in overtime by putting together a 6-0 run of their own. Eck completed a 3-point play and Hannah Fox (10 points) hit a 3-pointer to give Amherst a 58-57  lead with 30 seconds left.

Spaulding made a pair of free throws, then Lucia Renikoff came up with a big block on another Hendricks' 3-point attempt, grabbed the defensive rebound and sank both of her free throws when she was fouled.

Amherst led by as many as three points late in the third quarter, after overcoming an 11-point the Tommies built after halftime. St. Thomas held Amherst to four points in the second quarter, turning a 14-13 first-period lead into a 26-17 edge at the break.

Amherst came back to pull within two points at the end of the third quarter, as Resch made four of her 3-pointers and scored 12 points in the second half.

St. Thomas advances to play Wartburg in Saturday's Elite Eight game. The Knights handed the Tommies their only loss of the year, 60-40, on December 30 in Iowa.

NOTES: Eck will start her senior season one point shy of 12th place on the Amherst scoring list and needs 472 points to pass Meredith Doswell '17 as the all-time leading scorer. Fox will begin the 2019-20 season 34 points shy of the 1,000-point milestone. Amherst has not lost more than four games in a season in each of the last 12 years and has reached the Sweet Sixteen every season.