CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Old Dominion women's basketball team pulled out a thrilling 72-70 victory at Charlotte on Sunday afternoon at Halton Arena.
"I'm just really proud of our composure and how we got through adversity," said head coach Karen Barefoot. "It's not always easy when you are going onto someone else's floor and having to come in here and stay focused on the mission. To defend them for 40 minutes is tough, because they are an outstanding offensive team."
After Charlotte (17-8, 9-5 C-USA) took its first and only lead of the game at 70-69 with 2:15 remaining, Jennie Simms answered with a go-ahead jumper with 1:56 to play and the Old Dominion (14-11, 9-5 C-USA) defense held the 49ers scoreless for the final 2:15 to pull out the victory.
Simms led all scorers with 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Gianna Smith tied her career high with 17 points. Annika Holopainen also finished in double figures with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Simms, with 1,977 career points, also passed Medina Dixon for seventh on the ODU all-time scoring list with a third-quarter layup.
The Lady Monarchs opened the game with a 13-1 run in the first four minutes and led 25-12 at the end of one. ODU shot 63 percent from the field in the opening quarter, while holding the 49ers to just 27 percent.
In the second quarter, Old Dominion pushed its lead to 41-26 midway through the segment, but Charlotte responded with an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 41-37 with under a minute to play until half. Smith then nailed a jumper at the halftime buzzer to give ODU a 43-37 lead at the half.
ODU shot 53 percent from the field and 56 percent from three in the opening half and also outrebounded Charlotte, 23-11.
In the second half, Charlotte continued to cut into the Lady Monarch lead and closed the gap to as little as two at 59-57 with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter. However, Holopainen, who scored 12 of her 14 points in the third, drilled a three late in the quarter to give ODU a 62-57 lead heading into the fourth.
In the final quarter, Charlotte pulled within one on two occasions, before Ciara Gregory drilled a triple to give Charlotte the 70-69 lead with 2:15 to play. Simms' jumper with 1:56 to play and strong ODU defense then propelled the Lady Monarchs to the win.
Overall, ODU outrebounded Charlotte, 44-30, and shot 53 percent from beyond the arc, while holding to 33 percent from three.
"I'm so glad that we had a great crowd here that traveled to cheer us on," said Barefoot. "It took everyone on the sideline and behind the bench to be able to pull this out."
The win was also Karen Barefoot's 100th at Old Dominion.
UP NEXT The Lady Monarchs remain on the road next weekend, as ODU travels to Marshall on Thursday and WKU on Saturday. Both games will be streamed on CUSA.tv.