Oakton senior center Elizabeth Manner scored a school-record 44 points Tuesday night in a 61-60 overtime win at Madison, none of that total more important than the four points she scored to tie the game in unusual fashion with 1.3 seconds left in regulation.
In a sort of look-what-I-found sequence that she could not fully recall after the game, Manner stole a pass in the deep back court, took one dribble and fired off a three-pointer that went in. She was fouled on the play. Her free throw tied the score at 51 and erased what was left of the eight-point lead Madison had nursed into the final 22 seconds of regulation.
The No. 19 Cougars (8-1) scored the first six points in the four-minute overtime, and when the Warhawks cut the lead to one with about seven seconds left, Manner hit two free throws. Madison scored on a layup just before the buzzer for the one-point margin.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking anything,” Manner said of the her steal, presence of mind to shoot a three-pointer and subsequent foul shot that forced overtime. “I don’t want to say it was lucky, but it was lucky.”
“That was a ridiculous turnaround, and ‘Biz’ is carrying the mail for sure,” said Oakton Coach Fred Priester, who joked with Manner that she should give him a ride home because he’d ridden her ability all night. “She’s just grown tremendously as a player, as much as any player I’ve had from Day One to Day Now.”
Manner, a Stony Brook recruit who has four games of 30-plus points this season thanks in great part to her footwork in the paint, also grabbed 20 rebounds against Madison.
But with four-year standouts Caroline and Katherine Coyer now at Villanova after leading the Cougars to a 31-0 season, Manner thinks her greatest role on the team is not scoring or rebounding but leadership. That was evident Tuesday night.
“I continuously was telling my team, ‘We’re not losing,’ ” said said. “[The win] definitely shows our younger players how we play. It’s been a big learning experience. We’re still getting there.”
“People might look at it and say we’re in some sort of Coyer withdrawal, but we’re really not,” Priester said. “We’re trying to play the game differently this year than we played it last year.”
Before the season, the Warhawks (4-2) lost their top two scorers from last year to knee injuries.