March 2, 2012
2012 Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament Central
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – The semifinal matchups in the Patriot League Women’s Basketball Tournament are set after three of the top-four seeds picked up quarterfinal victories Thursday night.
No. 1 American will entertain fifth-seeded Holy Cross, while No. 3 Navy heads north to Bethlehem, Pa., to battle second-seeded Lehigh. Both of Monday’s semifinal battles will tip off at 7 p.m., and each will be streamed via Patriot League All-Access.
American survived another close game with No. 8 Lafayette, with the Eagles scoring a 59-54 triumph at Bender Arena. Lehigh and Navy both won by double figures, with the Mountain Hawks cruising to a 63-47 victory over No. 7 Bucknell, and the Mids posting a late run to defeat sixth-seeded Colgate 66-54.
The only road team to win Thursday night was No. 5 Holy Cross, which earned a 59-50 victory at fourth-seeded Army.
Brief recaps of Thursday’s games are below. Links will be posted when they become available.
No. 1 American 59, No. 8 Lafayette 54;
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a back-and-forth affair with nine ties and 11 lead changes, top-seeded American (23-6) held on for a 59-54 victory over No. 8 Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals at Bender Arena Thursday night.
A pair of first-team All-Patriot League players came up big for the Eagles, as Player of the Year Lisa Strack scored a game-high 19 points and Alexis Dobbs added 17. The two players combined to shoot just under 50 percent from the floor (11 of 23), while eight of Strack’s points came from the foul line.
Danielle Fiacco had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench of the Leopards (8-22), while Patriot League Rookie of the Year also added 12 points. Fiacco collected a pair of blocks to finish with a League single-season record of 112.
Melissa Downey sank a pair of free throws to give Lafayette a 50-49 lead with 5:24 left before Dobbs’ 3-pointer 17 seconds later gave the Eagles a 52-50 advantage. It was the start of seven straight American points, with Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Ebony Edwards contributing on the offensive side as well with an offensive rebound and a made jumper to put American ahead 56-50 with three minutes left.
Homan’s layup with 1:29 on the clock cut American’s lead to 57-54, and the Leopards had the ball with less than a minute to go after Stephanie Anya missed two free throws.
But Dobbs came up with another big play, this time drawing a charge by Lafayette freshman Linnel Macklin to short circuited the upset-minded Leopards. Lafayette had the ball again as time ticked inside 10 seconds with the score still 57-54, but Ti’Asia McGeorge came up with a key block, Strack grabbed the rebound, was fouled and drained a pair of free throws in the final seconds to ice the game.
American grabbed a 19-12 lead on a Dobbs bucket with 8:40 left in the first half before the Leopards mounted a 7-0 run to tie the game. It was nip and tuck the rest of the way, with American’s Arron Zimmerman draining a shot as time expired to send the Eagles into halftime leading 30-28.
Both teams shot over 40 percent for the game, with the Eagles at 41.2 percent and the Leopards at 40.4 percent. Lafayette dominated the glass, 37-27, including winning the offensive board battle 13-9.
American advanced to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals and will host fifth-seeded Holy Cross Monday at 7 p.m.
No. 2 Lehigh 63, No. 7 Bucknell 47;
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Kelly Peterson led three Mountain Hawks in double figures with 13 points as No. 2 seed Lehigh (17-12) posted a 63-47 victory over seventh-seeded Bucknell (5-25) to advance to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals Monday night. Lehigh will host No. 3 Navy, which defeated sixth-seeded Colgate 66-54 Thursday night in Annapolis, Md.
Emily Gratch had 12 points and six rebounds, giving her 500 boards for her career, and Alexa Williams scored 10 points with six rebounds and a block to help the Mountain Hawks in the front court.
Bucknell’s Shelby Romine led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shootings and 4 of 5 from the 3-point line.
Lehigh worked the inside to a 42-22 advantage in points in the paint while also holding a 13-4 lead in fast break points.
Romine hit the first of her four 3s on the night to put Bucknell in front 9-4 at the first media timeout of the first half.
Felicia Mgbada’s layup put the Bison ahead 18-15 at the 7:13 mark, but those were the last points they would manage in the half. Lehigh closed out on an 11-0 run to take a 26-18 lead at the break.
It became a 15-0 run when Katie O’Reilly and Peterson hit back-to-back layups for the Mountain Hawks, forcing a Bucknell timeout.
But it didn’t take long for Lehigh to build its biggest lead of the game to that point at 42-22 with 13 minutes left after a jumper from senior Aly Byorick.
Bucknell posted an 8-0 run over the next minute and a half to cut it to a 42-30 deficit, but Lehigh slowly rebuilt a 17-point advantage with seven minutes left at 53-36.
Gratch’s layup just inside the four-minute mark put Lehigh ahead 61-39 before cruising to the victory.
The Bison finished 7 of 13 on 3-point attempts and went 20 of 51 from the field for the game. Lehigh shot just 2 of 9 on treys but was 25 of 50 from the floor. Lehigh also dominated the glass to a 35-22 advantage.
The Mountain Hawks have advanced to the semifinals six straight years.
No. 3 Navy 66, No. 6 Colgate 54;
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Kara Pollinger and Jade Geif tied for the team lead with 14 points apiece and Navy (16-13) used a late run to dispatch of seventh-seeded Colgate (8-22) 66-54 Thursday night at Alumni Hall.
Geif collected eight rebounds, one shy of the team lead held by guard Alix Membreno. Erin Edwards also chipped in 11 points for the Mids, who will visit No. 2 Lehigh Monday night at 7 p.m.
Navy overcame a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double performance by Colgate senior and second-team All-League selection Tricia Oakes. Lauryn Kobiela tallied 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting for the Raiders, who went just 1 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Navy finished the game on an 11-4 run to pull away after the Mids jumped out to early leads of 11-6 and 24-11. Navy’s lead grew to 32-13 before the Raiders closed the first half on an 8-2 stretch to cut it to 34-21 at halftime.
The Mids sank six of their first 10 opportunities in the second half and the lead ballooned to 48-29 with 14:30 remaining.
Colgate wasn’t done yet, as it scored 14 straight points to whittle the gap down to 48-41 with just inside eight minutes to play.
Chantel Lavender’s 3-pointer helped put Navy by double digits again at 53-43 with seven minutes to go.
Two free throws from Jhazmine Lynch had Colgate within 55-50 at the 3:36 mark. But the Mids replied with back-to-back buckets from Geif and Pollinger to make it a 59-50 game, putting the contest out of reach.
No. 5 Holy Cross 59, No. 4 Army 50;
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Christine Ganser scored 17 points and did not miss a shot as No. 5 Holy Cross (17-13) posted a 59-50 victory at fourth-seeded Army (14-16) Thursday night at Christl Arena.
Ganser shot 6 of 6 from the field, including making her one lone attempt from beyond the arc and going a perfect 4 of 4 from the foul line.
Amy Lepley had 10 points and five boards to help pace Holy Cross, while Alex Smith had seven points, five rebounds and five assists.
Anna Simmers led Army with 13 points but shot just 3 of 17 from the floor. Jen Hazlett and Olivia Schretzman pitched in 10 points apiece. Hazlett also had a game-high eight rebounds.
Holy Cross scored the first six points of the game and led by as many as seven on three different occasions in the first half before taking a 24-19 lead into the break.
Army scored the first four points of the second half to pull within 24-23 inside two minutes in. Ashley Cooper’s 3-pointer gave Holy Cross a five-point lead, and Ganser hit two free throws to extend the lead to 36-29 with 11:29 left.
Alex Smith drained a trey of her own to put Holy Cross ahead 42-33 with 9:29 on the clock. That was the Crusaders’ biggest lead of the game.
Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for the next several minutes. Hazlett’s jumper from the paint fell to bring Army within 48-43 with 5:27 showing on the clock.
As it turned out, that was the closest the Black Knights would get in the game. Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for most of the rest of the way before Meredith Ward’s layup with 38 seconds to go created the final tally.
Holy Cross rebounded from an 0-for-9 showing on 3-pointers in the first half by hitting 4 of 12 in the final 20 minutes. After shooting 3 of 9 on treys in the first, Army missed its three tries in the second.
Army won the battle of the boards 37-31, including 11-6 on the offensive glass.
Holy Cross advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when it also defeated Army in the quarters.