FREDERICKSBURG, VA-The York College women’s basketball squad saw their stellar 2007-08 campaign come to an end as the University of Mary Washington Eagles knocked the Spartans out of the Capital Athletic Conference tournament with a 71-58 setback on Thursday in Fredericksburg, VA. The Eagles, who are the top seeded team in the tournament, improve to 25-2 as they advance to their third straight CAC title game. Mary Washington will host Marymount, the two seed, in the championship game on Saturday. The Spartans conclude the season with a mark of 19-8. The 19 wins are a new school record for the green and white.
The game was even in the early stages. There were six lead changes and seven ties in the first half as the two squads battled in a highly entertaining opening stanza. The two teams were tied at 10 when York got a free throw and an April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) three to take a 14-10 lead. Mary Washington scored six of the next eight points as the game was again tied, this time at 16. The Eagles forged a 23-18 lead with 9:25 remaining in the half but the Spartans put together a 9-0 spurt to take a 27-23 lead. Donna Figenshu (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) canned a three followed by a triple from Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) and a trio of free throws from Andrews as the Spartans moved in front of the hosts. The Eagles turned to their All-American center Liz Hickey and she responded. Hickey scored seven straight points for the Eagles as she transformed the four point Eagle deficit into a three point UMW lead. Andrews tied the game at 30 with a three but in the last 1:53 the Eagles got a Lisa Tracy free throw and an Ashton Mitchell put back as they took a 33-30 lead to the break.
The Spartans opened the half by scoring six of the first eight points of the half to take their final lead of the night, 36-35, on a lay up from junior Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford). Mary Washington scored the next three points to take a two point lead but Ward tied the game for the final time at 38 with 15:48 remaining in the game. That’s when the bottom fell out on the Spartans. The Eagles fashioned a game-winning 15-0 run that covered just over four minutes. The Spartans battled but that run would prove to be too much to overcome. York cut the lead to 11 three times but York would be unable to get any closer than that as the Eagles notched the 13 point win, punching their ticket to the championship game.
The Eagles were led by Mitchell as she recorded a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. She was 10-for-17 from the floor including 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Hickey added 21 points, nine rebounds, and one blocked shot. Hickey was 7-for- 15 from the floor and 7-for-9 from the free throw line. Tracy was the third Eagle in double figures with 11 points.
Andrews led the Spartans as the junior poured in 18 points including three treys and five free throws. Andrews was 5-for-9 from the floor while she also had four rebounds and three assists. Ward added 12 points, three rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Sparkman was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points while she also had six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a blocked shot. Senior Kristen Daly (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity), playing in her final game in the green and white, had five points, five rebounds, and six assists.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 36.8% from the floor while they were 8-for-16 from beyond the arc. York was also solid from the charity stripe as they made 8-of-10 from the line. The Eagles shot 43% from the floor but they missed all eight of their attempts from downtown. However, Mary Washington was 21-for-27 from the free throw line as they outscored the green and white by 13 at the stripe.
The Eagles dominated the glass as they held a 43-31 edge in rebounding. The Eagles finished with a 32-22 edge in points in the paint while they also held a 19-8 advantage in second chance points.
The loss finishes the stellar career of Daly as she completes her four years in the green and white as one of the greatest players in Spartan history. Daly finishes her tenure as the third on the all-time scoring list with 1,585 points. She accumulated 773 rebounds, handed out 212 assists while she also had 160 steals and 62 blocked shots. The loss also ended the career of guard Gina Casadei (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville). Together, the duo led the Spartans to 62 wins including 37 victories over the last two years.
Kristen Daly photograph courtesy of Eric Linsley