YORK, PA-The York College women’s basketball team rolled past Baruch College 90-73 in the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday night in York. By virtue of their resounding win, the Spartans advance to the Sweet 16 where they will face the University of Scranton on Friday night at a site to be determined. The Spartans improve to 27-2 overall while the Bearcats see their season come to an end at 24-6.
Much like Friday’s first round game against Christopher Newport, the Spartans and Bearcats went back and forth in the opening minutes of the game. Baruch jumped out to an early six point lead before the Spartans stormed back to take a brief 9-8 lead. Neither team led by more than four points over the next ten minutes of the game. The contest was tied at 29, the seventh tie of the first half, with 5:09 remaining. That set the stage for the Spartans to slap the Bearcats with a 10-0 spurt keyed by Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston) as the senior drained a three and then got a steal and lay up to kick start the Spartans on the run. The Green and White would take a 41-33 lead to the break.
The Bearcats made a run at the Spartans to start the half as they scored 11 of the first 15 points of the stanza to trim the York lead to 45-44 with 15:53 remaining in the game. Sophomore Jaimie Sapp (Bluemount, Va./Loudon Valley) stopped the bleeding with a lay up to push York’s lead back up to three before April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) and Andrews gashed the Bearcat defense for three-pointers on consecutive possessions giving York a more comfortable 53-44 lead. The Bearcats cut the York lead to seven but the Spartans responded with a 7-0 run to increase the lead to 14 with 11:59 remaining in the game. Baruch cut the Spartan lead to as low as 10 but the Green and White advantage would not dip into single digits the rest of the way. The York lead grew to as many as 20 before the Green and White settled for the 17-point win.
The Spartans had all five starters reach double figures led by Sparkman as she did another lock down job defensively. She harassed Bearcat point guard Monique Salmon into 3-for-14 shooting from the floor. Sparkman also did the job on the offensive end as she tallied a game-high 21 points while she added seven rebounds, four blocks of Salmon and one assist. Sparkman was 7-for-10 from the floor, 3-for-5 from three, and 4-for-4 from the line. Senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) proved why she is a serious national Player-of-the-Year candidate as she tallied her 28th career double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds while she also had eight assists, three blocked shots and three steals in her 38 minutes of work. Ward was 7-for-14 from the floor, 2-for-5 from three, and 3-for-4 from the stripe. Sapp continues to come on strong for the Spartans as the sophomore center tallied a career-high 18 points while she pulled in six boards. Andrews recorded 13 points, five assists, and four rebounds for the hosts. Senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) was the fifth Spartan in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots.
The Bearcats were led by Kalea Davis as she notched 17 points and eight rebounds. Davis was 7-for-16 from the floor but just 3-for-9 from the free throw line. Salmon had the misfortune of matching up with Sparkman as she was held to seven points, six assists and three rebounds. Sparkman forced six Salmon turnovers in the game. Awa Diop contributed 15 points as she was an impressive 5-for-9 from three in the contest. Christina Rice chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds while Karle Whipple was the fourth Bearcat in double figures with 10 points.
York scorched the nets to the tune of 54.2% for the game including 47.6% from three. York also was very impressive from the free throw line as they went a blistering 16-for-17 from the stripe in the game. The Bearcats finished the contest shooting just 34.7% from the floor, 29.7% from distance and just 15-of-23 (65.2%) from the line.
The Spartans out-rebounded their guest 40-37 however the Bearcats held a significant 17-6 edge in second chance points. York blocked 11 shots in the game led by Sparkman’s four and Ward’s three swats.
York now must wait until Monday to find out if they will be on the road or if they will be returning to Wolf Gymnasium for one more weekend. The announcement is slated to be released Monday morning by the NCAA.
Jaimie Sapp photo courtesy of Steve Doemland (www.stevedoemland.com)