YORK, PA - Behind Keli Ward’s (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) season-high 21 points, the York College women’s basketball team captured their fifth consecutive win with a 76-57 victory over Alvernia College Monday evening at York’s Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center. The Spartans win their final non-conference contest of the regular season and boost their record to 11-3. The Crusaders drop to 4-8 on the campaign.
A back-and-forth battle ensued early in the game as both sides were settling into the contest. The Spartans went up by four 2:09 into the game at 6-2 on a Kristen Daly (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) jumper. Alvernia stormed back over the next 1:48 to capture a one-point advantage at 8-7.
For the next ten minutes, neither side was able to extend any advantage. The largest lead that either squad could manage was a mere three points.
With 6:45 remaining in the first frame, Kelli McIntyre ripped a steal from Ward, flew down the court, and cashed in an old-fashioned three-point play to increase the Crusader advantage to six at 25-19. McIntyre’s points would prove to be the largest lead the visitors could muster as York embarked on an extended run to close out the half.
Over the next 6:27, the Spartans would outscore the their guests 21-4. Junior guard Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) kick-started the run with a triple less than 20 seconds after McIntyre’s exploits. Daly and Ward combined for 14 of the 21 points as Amy Fry (Carlisle, Pa./Big Spring) and Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) each chipped in a pair of free throws.
York turned a six-point deficit into an eleven-point lead to go into the halftime break sporting a 40-29 advantage. The Spartans shot a strong 50% from the floor canning 16-of-32 attempts including 3-for-7 from distance. Alvernia managed to make 41.4% of their field goals but shot a mere 3-for-10 from the charity stripe.
The second half was all Spartans, as the home squad never let their lead dip below eight. McIntyre opened the second half with a bucket to cut the Spartan lead to nine. Rookie guard April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) nailed three consecutive lay-ups for the Spartans while interspersed scores from Jill Rosolie and Joanna Graber counter-acted Sparkman's tallies and kept the Crusaders within striking distance early in the period.
With York up 14 at 50-36 with 15:13 to go, Alvernia made a push to get back in the game. Jumpers from Tracee Harrison a pair of Rosolie scores cut the Spartan advantage to eight with 13:16 remaining.
Momentum seemed to be swinging towards the Crusaders as Michelle Lutzkanin blocked an Andrews’ three right after Rosolie’s lay-up. Fortunately for the Spartans, Ward corralled the loose ball and alertly laid in her 12th and 13th points of the contest to increase the lead back to double-digits at 52-42.
The green and white continued to build their lead behind the impressive play of Fry and junior guard Donna Figenshu (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville). Fry’s aggressive post play led to an easy lay-up and several converted free throws while Figenshu continued her strong play knocking down two field goals, including one three, and a pair of free throws.
Sparkman would cash in back-to-back lay-ups to give the Spartans their largest lead of the game at 71-49 with 6:08 left to play. The Spartans would then coast the rest of the way to the 76-57 victory.
York shot a solid 50% from the floor, going 31-for-62 from the field while also nailing 8-of-11 from the charity stripe. The Spartans also held a slight 41-37 advantage on the glass and posted a season-high nine blocks.
Ward’s 21 led all scorers as she also pulled-down eight rebounds and dished out six assists. Sparkman continues to grow into a solid contributor as she tallied 14 points on an efficient 7-for-8 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, and one block. Daly registered 13 points for the Spartans giving her 1,400 for her career, ranking her fourth on York’s all-time list. Figenshu had a strong game off the York bench, chipping in seven points on a perfect 2-for-2 from the field and 2-for-2 from the line. Fry added seven points of her own in addition to handing-out four helpers and grabbing three caroms.
Alvernia shot 34.9% from the field including only 29.4% in the second frame. The Crusaders struggled mightily from beyond the arc hitting only 3-of-11 attempts.
McIntyre scored a team-high 15 points while Rosolie chipped in 12 for the visitors. The rest of the Alvernia scoring was spread out as ten players played at least ten minutes during the contest.
With the non-conference regular season schedule now complete, the Spartans now begin a tough Capital Athletic Conference slate. York hits the road this Wednesday and heads for Dover, Del. to take on Wesley in a 6:00 pm tip-off.
(Keli Ward photo courtesy of Eric Linsley)