January 5, 2008

Spartans Capture Coaches vs. Cancer Crown

YORK, PA - The York College women's basketball team grabbed a 68-54 victory over Elizabethtown to claim the 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic presented by Best Western title Saturday evening at York’s Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center.  Senior forward Kristen Daly (Harrisburg, Pa./Trinity) earned MVP accolades and junior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) picked up all-tournament team honors.  The championship victory improves the Spartans’ record to 9-3 while the Blue Jays travel back to Elizabethtown sporting a 6-3 mark.

Early in the contest, scoring was at a premium.  York and Elizabethtown combined for five field goals within the game’s first five minutes as both squads also combined for five turnovers during the same period.    

Points continued to be scarce deep into the half.  After an Amy Fry (Carlisle, Pa./Big Spring) lay up with 13:27 to go in the frame the Spartans trailed by one at 10-9.  Over the next five-minute stretch York went cold and could only manage five points.  To the home crowd’s delight, Elizabethtown also felt the cool winter temperatures as the Blue Jays only tallied five times over the same duration.

With 7:44 to go in the period, freshman guard April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) canned one of her two triples to give the Spartans the 17-14 lead.  The lead then wavered back-and-forth for the rest of the period as neither side was able to gain a significant advantage.  

Elizabethtown’s Audrey Hitz, an all-tournament team selection, drained the final four points of the period to give the Blue Jays the 27-24 advantage heading into the break.

Even though York shot a solid 10-for-24 from the field, the Spartans committed an unnecessarily high 13 turnovers.  Fortunately for the green and white, Elizabethtown shot a mere 29.4% and was unable to significantly capitalize on the Spartan miscues.

The second half started much like the first half ended as both teams battled for an advantage.  With 16:13 remaining in the stanza, York’s Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) grabbed a steal and drove the length of the floor finishing with a pretty left-handed lay up to tie the score at 30.  The game’s seventh tie would not last long as Hitz tallied just 22 seconds after Andrews’ exploits.

The pattern of two point Blue Jay leads followed by tie scores continued for the better part of five minutes.  Elizabethtown would take a small lead, but the resilient Spartans would battle right back.  

York went on a spurt of their own with ten minutes remaining. Freshman forward Jaimie Sapp (Bluemont, Va./Loudoun Valley) and Daly nailed back-to-back jumpers to give the Spartans a short-lived 40-38 advantage.  After a Donna Figenshu (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) jumper and four Blue Jay free throws, the game was tied at 42 all with 7:38 on the clock.  The contest’s thirteenth tie would prove to be the last as York, much like the Spartans did yesterday, went on an extended run to close out the game and take the championship.

A Figenshu free throw and a Ward three ignited a 21-9 Spartan streak.  Over the final 7:24, the green and white drilled 6-of-9 field goals and hit 9-of-12 from the charity stripe including shooting 7-for-10 from the line in the final 2:18.  York only turned the ball over twice during the closing stretch, with one of the turnovers coming when the Spartans had already amassed a 15-point lead.

Over the 40 minutes of play, the Spartans shot an outstanding 51% from the floor and held a 41-37 advantage on the glass.  York’s defense held the Blue Jays to a meager 26.2% shooting and 19% from deep.

Daly was brilliant for the Spartan side registering 20 points in 36 minutes of action.  The senior standout pulled-down six rebounds, distributed three assists, threw back two blocks, and ripped a pair of steals.  For the Classic, Daly averaged 22 points and 8.5 boards en route to tournament MVP honors.

Ward tallied 17 points on an efficient 5-for-8 shooting including 3-for-4 from distance and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.  She also registered six boards, four helpers, and two steals.

Figenshu and Sapp logged quality minutes for the Spartans in the championship effort.  Figenshu, a junior guard, dished out four assists to only one turnover in a game that saw the Spartans suffer from the turnover bug.  Sapp added eight points and five rebounds and provided York with a solid defensive presence in the middle of the paint.

Although the Blue Jays had a tough night from the floor, they still shot a solid 69.6% from the charity stripe.  Elizabethtown also recorded 16 steals and 22 offensive rebounds to the Spartans’ seven and 12 respectively.

Elizabethtown’s Hitz tallied 14 points and grabbed seven boards while Megan Quinn paced the Blue Jays with 15 points.  Erin Walton was the third Blue Jay in double figures, registering 12 points and pulling-down a team-high nine rebounds.      

York hits the road for their next contest as the Spartans travel to Capital Athletic Conference foe St. Mary’s for a mid-week match-up.  Wednesday’s tip from St. Mary’s is scheduled for 6:00 pm.

GAME BOX 

COMPLETE COACHES VS. CANCER CLASSIC RESULTS 

Kristen Daly photo courtesy of Eric Linsley 

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