La Salle dug deep to celebrate a dramatic, 75-70 overtime win yesterday over visiting Sacred Heart in a nonconference women's game.

The Explorers' resurgence from a 12-point second-half deficit was led by Carlene Hightower, who scored six of a game-high 28 points in overtime.

However, Margaret Elderton (12 points) secured the win with a jumper with just 15 seconds left in OT, increasing La Salle's win streak to three games. It marked the second straight contest in which the Explorers (6-6) rallied from a double-digit, second-half deficit to win.

Stephanie Ryan (24 points, 10 rebounds) led Sacred Heart (6-6).

La Salle visits Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Monday before a trip to Lafayette next Friday.

In another game:

* Timisha Gomez scored 18 points and Alexis Johnson snagged 10 rebounds as Saint Joseph's defeated the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 68-59, in the first game of the Hilton Philadelphia Hawk Classic at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse.

The Hawks (6-6) returned to .500 surviving a rally from NJIT midway through the second half, assisted by solid performances from Brittany Ford (12 points) and an eight-point night from Johnson and Amy Wold. Jessica Gerald (16 points) led NJIT (2-8).

St. Joe's will play No. 15 Auburn today in the championship game. Auburn used a 10-1 run to down Davidson, 66-59, in another first-round game. *