Saint Joseph's redshirt freshman Katie Jekot hit a pair of free throws with :10.3 seconds to go and sophomore Lula Roig blocked a potential go-ahead basket by La Salle in the final seconds to help the Hawks secure a 64-63 victory over the Explorers on Sunday at Tom Gola Arena.
Led by senior Alyssa Monaghan's career-high 27 points, Saint Joseph's picked up its fourth-straight win to improve to 6-6 in the Atlantic 10 and 10-15 overall.
In a back-and-forth matchup between city rivals, La Salle (4-23, 1-12 A-10) got the ball with the score knotted at 62-62 with 23 seconds to play. Working the ball into the paint, the Explorers' Shalina Miller was fouled on a layup attempt with :10.3 left. Miller missed the first, but made the second as the Hawks called a timeout down by one, 63-62.
Out of the timeout, SJU attempted to inbound near its bench, but Jekot was fouled before the ball was put into play. With a chance to give the Hawks the lead for the first time since the third quarter, Jekot calmly hit two free throws to push her team ahead, 64-63.
Following a timeout by La Salle, the Hawks nearly got a steal, but instead deflected the ball out of bounds. Off the next entry pass, the Explorers' Michelle Nicholls drove from the right wing into the paint, only to have her shot blocked by Roig, with the rebound going to the Hawks as they dribbled out the clock.
Playing for the second time this season, Saint Joseph's and La Salle matched up like teams that knew each other well as neither led by more than six points.
Tied at 54-54 with 4:41 left in the fourth, the Explorers scored the next five points to open a 59-54 lead on a Nicholls three-pointer.
Monaghan answered with a bucket, and after a defensive stop, Jekot buried a three-pointer from the left wing to tie the game.
La Salle wasted little time responding as Shayla Sweeney drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key with 1:50 to play.
SJU failed to score on its next possession, but got a stop on defense and the ball back with :40 left. Working the ball to Monaghan, the senior drove into the lane and was fouled as she knocked down a jumper. She smoothly hit the free throw to complete the three-point play and tie the game with :23 remaining, while her teammates would come through in the final moments to secure the win.
For the game, Saint Joseph's shot just 32.2 percent from the floor (20-62) and 28.6 percent from three-point range (6-21), but went a perfect 18-18 from the foul line.
Individually, Monaghan surpassed her previous career-high of 25 points that she set versus La Salle earlier this year on January 20 as she went 7-11 from the field, 2-5 from behind the arc and 11-11 from the foul line for 27 points. Jekot added 18 points to go with five rebounds, while sophomore Mary Sheehan grabbed a team-high nine boards to go with six points.
At the other end, Sweeney led five Explorers in double figures with 13 points as La Salle finished the game shooting 41.7 percent overall (25-60), hit 4-9 from three-point range and 9-16 from the foul line (44.4 percent).
The Hawks returns home to host Duquesne on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: SJU is now 49-10 all-time versus La Salle...Roig added five points to go with five rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block...Rookie Katie Mayock scored six points and had six boards and a blocked shot...Senior Whisper Fisher scored two points and had four rebounds, two blocks and two steals...Senior Kristalyn Baisden added three assists...Rookie Devyne Newman played seven minutes.
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