DOVER, DEL – York College guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) knew that her Spartan teammates needed her to take over. And take over is what the senior captain did as she exploded for 19 second half points en route to leading the 10th ranked Spartans to a 76-67 win at Wesley College on a Saturday afternoon Capital Athletic Conference.
The Spartans extended their school record win streak to 22 as they lock up, at minimum, a tie for the regular season Capital Athletic Conference championship. York is now 22-1 overall and 14-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Wolverines fall to 13-10 and 9-5 in the league.
The first half was a back and forth affair over the first eight minutes of play. There were four lead changes before the game was tied at 18. The Wolverines took a three-point lead on a Colleen Thomas triple with 11:58 remaining in the half. The Wolverines maintained their lead until Amy Fry (Carlisle, Pa./Big Spring) hit a pair of free throws with 6:47 remaining before the half to give York a 28-27 lead. Fry’s free throws were part of an 8-0 run, which was capped by a Fry lay up that gave the Spartans a 32-27 lead. The Wolverines wasted little time in getting back on top as Cory Boyd and Michele Mules canned threes on back-to-back possessions, giving the Wolverines their last lead of the day at 33-32. The Spartans answered by scoring the final five points of the half to take a 37-33 lead to the break.
York shot 46.7% in the first half while the Wolverines converted 46.4% of their shots from the floor. Wesley kept themselves in the game by converting six first-half three point field goals to two for the Spartans, however York made 7-of-8 from the free throw line while Wesley was just 1-for-1.
The second half was all Ward as she opened the stanza with a jumper just 15 seconds in. The Wolverines tied the game twice in the next four minutes with the final tie coming at 41 with 15:45 remaining. That’s when Ward began to assert herself. She hit a free throw followed by a three-point play as the Spartans put together an 11-2 run to take a 52-43 lead. The Wolverines trimmed the York lead to seven on an Angie Owens lay up but York answered with a 12-6 spurt to take a game-high 13 point lead on an April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) lay up with 7:52 left. The Wolverines would not go away as they answered York’s run with eight straight points to trim the York lead to five. However, Ward scored six straight points to push the lead back to 10 at 70-60 with 3:48 left. The Spartan lead would not fall below eight the rest of the way. Ward scored nine of the Spartans’ final 10 points of the game.
Ward led the Spartans with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds for her 27th career double-double. Ward was 9-for-15 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. She also handed out five assists and collected three steals. Sparkman continues to establish herself as one of the top players in the conference as she added 19 points, pulled in five rebounds, had four steals and three blocked shots. She was 5-for-8 from the floor and a career-high 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Senior Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) was the third Spartan in double figures as she added 12 points. Seniors Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) and Fry each chipped in with eight points. Perez also pulled in six rebounds, handed out three assists and had three steals.
Owens led the Wolverines with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot, and a steal in 34 minutes played. Owens was 9-for-15 from the floor and 1-for-2 from the line. Thomas added 18 points to the Wolverine offense. She was 6-for-12 from the floor including 5-for-10 from three. Boyd finished the game with 13 assists, seven points and seven rebounds. She was 2-for-15 from the floor including 1-for-7 from three. Allison Beddia chipped in with nine points and seven boards for the hosts.
York finished the contest shooting 48.3% from the field but just 22% from three for the game. The Spartans were very good from the free throw line as they went 18-for-22 (81.8%) for the game.
Wesley shot 43.9% for the game but just 41.4% in the second half. The Wolverines converted 37.5% (9-for-24) from three for the contest. Wesley also shot above 80% for the game as they were 8-for-10.
York out-rebounded the Wolverines 36-29 while they also held a 13-4 edge in second chance points. The Spartans also held a very slight 36-32 advantage in points in the paint.
The Spartans will look to sew up their first Capital Athletic Conference regular season championship on Wednesday night as they welcome Gallaudet University to Wolf Gymnasium for a CAC contest. Tip time is set for 6:00 pm. The game will also be the Spartans’ Pink Zone game, raising breast cancer awareness.