UNH women’s basketball: Holy Cross takes down Wildcats at the buzzer in Magarity’s return

Cameron Beall

WILDCATS 49, CRUSADERS 50 

DURHAM, N.H. — Student versus teacher. Apprentice versus master. Kelsey Hogan versus Maureen Magarity. University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (3-5, 0-0) versus the Holy Cross Crusaders (5-4, 0-0). Magarity’s return to Durham after 10 years helming the Wildcats, whom her former player/assistant now helms, grabbed all the headlines leading into Wednesday night’s clash in Lundholm Gymnasium. But it was senior Avery LaBarbera’s buzzer-beater to snatch a victory for the Crusaders that dominated conversation afterward.  

UNH played Holy Cross tight all night and were able to stay within striking distance going into the fourth quarter. And the Wildcats struck. After failing to find the basket for the first three quarters, senior Ivy Gogolin was a woman possessed in the final 10 minutes scoring 14 points. Her heroic efforts were nearly enough for UNH. Fifth-year guard Amanda Torres, who finished with 10 points, sank two free throws with seven seconds to play to put the ‘Cats up by one.  

But those seven seconds proved fatal. LaBarbera received the inbound and asked Torres, who had face guarded the Crusader’s star player all night, to put in one final shift. The veteran Wildcat did well and refused to be goaded into a foul. LaBarbera made a final crossover that ever so slightly dislodged Torres and lobbed up a desperate floater.  

Time stood still in Lundholm Gymnasium. All eyes watched, powerless to affect the ball’s trajectory. As the backboard lit red and the buzzer sounded, the ball dropped cleanly through the net. The women in purple exploded in celebration. Those in white stared in disbelief or fell to their knees, head in hands.  

It will be a hard pill to swallow for UNH, who have now lost three straight and dropped back-to-back home games. Coach Hogan said that the grit her team showed in the loss gave her confidence moving forward.  

“This is a really good lesson for us,” said Hogan. “I’m trying to be positive, coming in after the game telling the girls, ‘we go through this heartache right now, it’s going to go our way when it really matters, and that comes [in] conference [play] because we’re going to have the confidence. We know we can play in an emotional and a close game.’” 

Hogan said her team was likely sick of her saying to trust the process but that she repeated the mantra for a reason.  

As for Gogolin’s fourth quarter, Hogan couldn’t say enough good things about her star forward.  

“[Gogolin] is the hardest working young lady that I’ve met,” said Hogan.  

That hard work paid dividends in the fourth, but Hogan was clear that she needed to do more for Gogolin to get her involved earlier in the game.  

“Just trying to get consistency with her,” said Hogan. “More importantly, we’re trying to get her the ball more. I’m even proud that we at least got the ball to her 10 times because in the last game, we only got it to her five times, and that’s not enough for her, especially with how much she works, how hard she works. We’ve got to continue to reward her. I just love her.” 

Speaking of love, there was plenty shown between Magarity and her former player/assistant. The two shared a hug in the postgame handshake line, and when asked about their first game as opponents, gushed praise for one another.  

“I love Kelsey like a sister. I’m so proud of everything that she’s done here,” said Magarity. The coach got a little choked up when discussing her old stomping grounds and the people who she called Durham home with for a decade. “It’s hard not to get a little emotional because this place will always have a really special place in my heart.” 

“We’re family,” said Hogan. “She gave me a phenomenal opportunity as a student-athlete. Never mind then pulling me right on staff with her. I’m beyond grateful for her, and you know what, I do have two big sisters, but she’s another big sister.” 

The ‘Cats are back in action Monday, Dec. 13, when they’ll take on Boston University (3-5, 0-0) after Saturday’s game was canceled and ruled a no contest. 

Photo courtesy of China Wong