ARLINGTON, VA-Never did a game that meant so little, mean so much. The York College women’s basketball team ended a 13-game losing streak to Marymount University on Saturday afternoon as they defeated the Saints 74-61 in Arlington, VA. The game meant nothing in terms of post season seeding as the first round games are set, but the green and white needed to clear the hurdle of facing the Saints and walking away with a win.
The Spartans, winners of three straight, improve to 18-7 overall and 10-6 in the CAC. The 18 wins ties the school record that was established in 2001-02 and tied again last season. The Saints, who are the second ranked team in the Atlantic region fall to 21-4 overall and 13-3 in the CAC.
The win was also sweet for another reason as junior standout Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) became the 11th member of the Spartans’ 1,000 career point club. Ward drained a three with 6:24 remaining in the first half to reach the milestone. The bucket came off a pass from senior Kristen Daly (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) and gained Ward entrance into the exclusive club of which Daly is already a member.
The Spartans started the game off strong as they led 13-6 just over five minutes into the game. The Spartans pushed the lead to eight at 16-8 before the Saints scored 12 of the game’s next 14 points to take a 20-18 lead with 7:52 remaining in the half. The Spartans responded with back-to-back threes from Daly and Ward as the triples kick started an 11-0 spurt that gave the green and white a 29-20 lead. It was a lead they would not surrender the rest of the day. The Saints trimmed York’s lead to seven on a Terell White free throw with 2:30 left before the half but the Spartans scored eight of the final ten points of the stanza to take a 37-24 lead at the break.
York came out of the intermission and carried over the momentum they built at the end of the first half. The Spartans began the second 20 minutes with a 13-3 run that gave the Spartans a 50-27 lead with 16:12 left in the game. The Spartan lead stayed in the 20’s until White hit a lay up with 8:06 left, cutting the Spartan advantage to 19 at 62-43. The Spartans pushed the lead back up to 21 before the Saints trimmed the lead to 15 twice. However, each time York answered the Saints’ charge with a surge of their own. Freshman April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) hit a lay up with 1:55 left, pushing the lead to 74-53. The Saints scored the final eight points of the game, making the final score appear closer than it really was.
The Spartans were led by Ward as the junior had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Ward also handed out six assists as she was 5-for-12 from the floor including 2-for-4 from three. Ward was a stellar 6-for-7 from the free throw line in a day when she joins other Spartan greats in the York College women’s basketball record book. Daly notched a double-double of her own as she poured in a team-high 22 points in addition to her 11 rebounds. She also handed out three assists with one steal in her 38 minutes of work. Sparkman was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) added seven points and seven rebounds to the Spartan cause.
White led the Saints with 24 points as she tore up the Spartan defense for the second time this season. White was 8-for-15 from the floor including 1-for-2 from three. She drained 7-of-9 from the free throw line while she also had four steals, three assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot. White was the only Saint in double figures as Meredith Levison was the next highest scorer with nine points. Stephanie Witko pulled in nine rebounds to lead Marymount on the glass. Witko also had seven points for Marymount.
The Spartans finished the game holding a 50-29 edge on the glass, a great departure from the game earlier this season when Marymount out-rebounded York 48-34. The Spartans had 22 offensive rebounds in the game which led to a 14-6 margin in second chance points for York. The green and white also held a 24-18 edge over the much larger Saints in points in the paint.
York finished the game shooting 41.8% from the floor including 44.4% (8-for-18) from three. The Spartans attempted 11 more shots in the game thanks to York’s 13 offensive rebound advantage in the game. Marymount shot 37.5% from the floor including just 33.3% from three. The Saints did converted 15-of-19 from the free throw line while York was 10-for-14 in the contest.
The Spartans now move on to the 2008 Capital Athletic Conference tournament. The Spartans, who will be the fourth seed in the tournament, will host the fifth seeded Wesley Wolverines on Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm. That will kick off a women’s-men’s Spartan CAC playoff doubleheader at Wolf Gymnasium.
Keli Ward photo courtesy of Eric Linsley