Big First Half Propels Spartans to Win over Albright

  BALTIMORE, MD-The York College women’s basketball squad used a big first half to roll to an 89-74 victory over Albright College in the opening round of the Mike Durgala Memorial Tournament hosted by Johns Hopkins University on Saturday afternoon in Baltimore. The Spartans, winners of two straight, improve to 2-1 overall while the Lions fall to 0-2 for the season.
    The opening 11 minutes of the game saw the two teams go back-and-forth with neither team holding more than a three point lead. The teams were tied at 28 when a Caitlin Byrne (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) jumper kick started a 21-5 York run that gave the Green and White a 49-33 lead. The Spartans pushed the lead to as high as 17 before the Lions ended the half scoring six of the final nine points in the stanza to trim the York lead to 55-41 at the break.
    York was tremendous offensively in the opening 20 minutes as they shot 64% from the floor including 67% (6-for-9) from three and 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
    The Spartans opened the second half much like they ended the first as they pushed the lead to 21 twice with the last time coming at 65-44 with 15:29 remaining in the game. That’s when the Lions started making shots and their resulting press began giving York problems. After an Albright time out with 15:24 showing on the clock, Jessica McGinness drilled a three that began a 22-10 run that covered 6:14 and trimmed the Spartan lead to 71-64 with 9:10 left in regulation. A quick 6-2 Spartan spurt pushed the lead back to 12 but four straight Lion points cut the lead back down to eight with 5:35 left. The Spartans sealed the deal with a 12-1 run, pushing the lead back to 19 at 89-70. The Lions got two buckets over the final 48 seconds of the game to provide for the final Spartan margin of victory.
    Senior Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) paced the Spartans with 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists. She was 8-for-16 from the floor including 3-for-6 from three. Senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) added 16 points, eight assists, and three rebounds in her 36 minutes of work. Ward had just one turnover as she continues to run the offense in a very efficient manner. The York offense is currently averaging 88 points per game through three contests. Senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) tallied 17 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked three shots for the Spartans. Perez led the Spartans early as she had 13 of her points in the first half. Sophomore April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) added 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal for York. Sophomore center Jaimie Sapp (Bluemont, Va./Loudon Valley) had a solid day with four points, eight rebounds, and a career-high four blocked shots.
    McGinness led the Lions with 23 points and six rebounds. She was 9-for-16 from the floor including one three and a 4-for-4 performance at the free throw line. Bre Dillon added 17 points and six rebounds while she also had three steals. Annie McMahon was the third Lion in double figures with 14 points while she also contributed six rebounds.
    The Spartans cooled off significantly in the second half as they shot just 42% in the second 20 minutes. For the game, York shot 52% (37-for-71) from the floor, 41.2% from three, and 66.7% (8-for-12) from the free throw line. Albright converted 42.9% of their attempts from the floor but struggled from distance as they went just 3-for-11 (27.3%). The Lions made 11-of-15 from the free throw line for the game.
    Both teams grabbed 40 rebounds but York held an 11-6 edge in second chance points. The Spartan bench outscored their Albright counterparts 18-9.
    The Spartans will attempt to win the tournament championship on Sunday afternoon as they face the host Blue Jays at 3:00 pm. Johns Hopkins earned a trip to the championship game with a 58-52 win over Sewanee in the tournament’s first semifinal game.