Illinois Wesleyan's Olivia Lett Hits Buzzer Beater to Upset Mount Union in NCAA Tournament

Kori Wiedt (Photo by Ryan Baker)
Kori Wiedt (Photo by Ryan Baker)

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Olivia Lett hit a shot at the buzzer to give Illinois Wesleyan a 70-69 win at Mount Union in the sectional semifinals of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship Friday at the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex in Alliance, Ohio.

"It was the biggest shot of her career," stated head coach Mia Smith as Illinois Weslyan (25-5) will play fellow College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin member Carthage (Wis.) -- a 71-61 winner over Centre (Ky.) in the other semifinal -- Saturday night at 7 pm.

Lett had 14 of her game-high 26 points in the second half as she willed her team to a victory in a game that featured 11 ties and 17 lead changes before her last second heroics.

Mount Union (28-2) lost for only the second time this season -- first time since Dec. 3 (a span of 23 games) and first time at home since Dec. 2010 (a span of 25 games).

Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted/North Olmsted) had 22 points, Rosa LaMattina had 16 while Amanda Rose had 11 for the Purple Raiders who had their third highest turnover total of the year (19) and two costly ones in the final 1:44.

The entire game was played in a six-point margin as Mount Union held five-point leads on three separate occasions with the last time being with just over 14 minutes to play.  

Illinois Wesleyan also had leads of its own including a six-point margin, 64-58, with seven minutes to play.

The Raiders nine-straight from that point on to retake the lead, 67-64, on a LaMattina three with 5:07 to play.

Each teams traded just two more baskets the rest of the way before Lett hit the game winner.

"We did everything we wanted to do," commented Mount Union head coach Suzy Venet. "She (Lett) is a great player and made a play.  I feel for our seniors as they have given so much to our program."

Newspaper Box Score
Illinois Wesleyan vs Mount Union
03/09/12 7 pm at The MAAC - Alliance, Ohio
At The MAAC - Alliance, Ohio
ILLINOIS WESLEYAN 70, MOUNT UNION 69
ILLINOIS WESLEYAN (25-5)
Lett, Olivia 12-23 2-3 26; Gardner, Melissa 5-14 0-0 13; Hasselbring, Britt
4-11 0-0 8; Bilek, Michelle 3-3 0-0 7; Baltes, Lexi 2-2 0-0 5; Solari, Karen
2-4 0-0 4; McMahon, Colleen 2-4 0-0 4; Jackson, Shelby 1-4 1-2 3. Totals
31-65 3-5 70.
MOUNT UNION (28-2)
Kori Wiedt 7-14 5-5 22; Rosa LaMattina 6-8 0-1 16; Amanda Rose 4-12 3-4 11;
Erin Schmidt 1-3 4-4 6; Tierney Allen 1-6 3-4 5; Maggie Miller 1-2 1-2 4;
Kelly Evans 1-2 0-0 3; Amanda Tamerlano 1-2 0-0 2; Kensie Kimble 0-1 0-1 0;
Olivia Holt 0-0 0-0 0; Marybeth Leitch 0-1 0-0 0; Aly Daniel 0-2 0-0 0.
Totals 22-53 16-21 69.
Illinois Wesleyan.............   34   36  -   70
Mount Union...................   35   34  -   69
3-point goals--Illinois Wesleyan 5-19 (Gardner, Melissa 3-10; Baltes, Lexi
1-1; Bilek, Michelle 1-1; Jackson, Shelby 0-2; Solari, Karen 0-1;
Hasselbring, Britt 0-1; Lett, Olivia 0-3), Mount Union 9-18 (Rosa LaMattina
4-5; Kori Wiedt 3-9; Kelly Evans 1-2; Maggie Miller 1-1; Tierney Allen 0-1).
Fouled out--Illinois Wesleyan-None, Mount Union-None. Rebounds--Illinois
Wesleyan 32 (Solari, Karen 7), Mount Union 37 (Amanda Rose 9).
Assists--Illinois Wesleyan 17 (Hasselbring, Britt 4; Solari, Karen 4), Mount
Union 18 (Erin Schmidt 3; Amanda Rose 3; Kori Wiedt 3; Rosa LaMattina 3).
Total fouls--Illinois Wesleyan 20, Mount Union 10. Technical fouls--Illinois
Wesleyan-None, Mount Union-None. A-697
2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament sectional semi-final; Ill. Wesleyan
advances to the next round Saturday at 7 pm.