Radford, Va. - The Gardner-Webb women's basketball team overcame another poor shooting night by hauling down 31 offensive rebounds on Monday night to upset the Radford Highlanders, 59-55, in overtime at the Dedmon Center in Radford, Va.
The overtime game was the third between these two schools over the last five meetings with the Runnin' Bulldogs winning all three games.
The win pushes GWU to 3-13 in conference play and puts them in a tie with Asheville, who lost at Liberty on Monday night, for the eighth spot in regards to the 2012 Big South Women's Basketball Championship seedings.
Leading the way for Gardner-Webb was, senior Brianna Dillard with a team-high 17 points to go along with nine rebounds and three steals, while guard Jasmine Dale added nine points and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Freshman Jessica Heilig added eight points and brought down nine rebounds, while fellow freshman KiKi Smith chipped in with eight points as well.
For Radford, Ashley Buckhannon had 21 points, as she was 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line, while Da'Naria Erwin Spencer had 20 points in 43 minutes of play.
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss at Liberty on Saturday afternoon, Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 4-0 lead off of two free throws from freshman Jessica Heilig and a slashing lay-up by Dillard at the 18:40 mark of the opening half.
After three straight points by sophomore center Catrina Green put GWU in front by three at 12-9 with 14:24 to play, neither team would score for over two minutes of play until a three-pointer by Radford's Buckhannon knotted the score up at 12-12 with just over 12 minutes to play.
Again a scoring drought would pass over the next three minutes, as neither team could take the lead until Buckhannon drained two free throws to push the Highlanders in front by two at 14-12 with 9:18 to play before the halftime break.
Over the rest of the first half of play, the Runnin' Bulldogs would outscore the home standing Radford Highlanders 12-9, as senior center Breynna Winkler came off the bench to score six points over the final four minutes of the half to help put GWU in front by one at 24-23 at intermission.
Both teams shot under 30 percent in the first half, however, Gardner-Webb was 9-of-14 (64 percent) from the charity stripe compared to Radford's 5-of-11 (45 percent) and out-rebounded the Highlanders 35 to 16 over the first 20 minutes of play.
The second half went back-and-forth, as the two teams' traded the lead on five different occasions over the first five minutes of the second period until a 5-0 run by the Highlanders gave the home team their largest lead of the game at 34-30 with 13:24 to go in the contest.
The next three and a half minutes belonged to GWU, as the Runnin' Bulldogs ran off five straight points on a Mayhana Dunovant three-pointer and a Smith jumper to retake the lead at 35-34 with just over 11 minutes on the scoreboard.
After Radford retook the lead at 39-35, the Runnin' Bulldogs battled back to retake the lead at 43-41 with five made free throws and a Dale three-pointer, yet found themselves tied up once more at 45-45 with 4:29 to play on a Dillard jumper.
A long jumper by Dale at the 3:10 mark put the visitors in front by one at 47-46, while just over a minute later Green hit one of two free throws to put GWU in front by two at 48-46 with 1:52 to go in the game.
Radford's Erwin Spencer tied the game up with a jump shot at the 1:39 mark, putting the score at 48-48.
The Runnin' Bulldogs had six shot attempts over the final minute of play, yet could not get the go ahead basket to fall sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period, GWU's Dillard led off the scoring with a driving lay-up to put the Runnin' Bulldogs on top at 50-48 with just over four minutes to play.
A minute later, Radford's Erwin Spencer hit another jump shot to tie the score up once more at 50-50 at the 3:08 mark.
GWU's Dale stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down back-to-back free throws to put the visitors back in front at 52-50 with a 1:56 to go in the game.
After a Radford free throw put the score at 52-51, the Runnin' Bulldogs' Dillard took the ball strong to the basket for an old-fashion three-point play to push GWU in front by four at 55-51 with less than a minute to play.
Another Erwin Spencer basket cut the GWU lead back to two at 55-53, yet Dale and Dillard would both hit two more free throws apiece down the stretch to help seal the 59-55 overtime conference road win for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb improves to 4-0 on the year when leading at the halftime break.
Despite shooting only 26 percent from the floor, as the Runnin' Bulldogs were 17-of-66 for the game, head coach Rick Reeves' team was 22-of-42 (52.4 percent) from the free throw line and held a decisive 64 to 45 rebound advantage for the contest.
Gardner-Webb (4-23, 3-13 Big South) will return home for their final two games of the regular season, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will host High Point at 7 p.m. on Friday night and Campbell at 7 p.m. on Monday night in Paul Porter Arena.