January 4, 2009

Defense Powers Spartans to Coaches vs. Cancer Title

   YORK, PA-On a day when the York College women’s basketball team’s offense was not at it’s best, the Spartan defense picked up the slack as the Green and White rolled to a 68-45 win in the championship game of the Hampton Inn Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in York. The win is the Spartans’ 10th straight as they are now 10-1 overall. The loss drops the Diplomats to 4-5 for the campaign. With the CVC tournament championship, the Spartans have now won five consecutive in-season tournament titles.
    The Spartans controlled the game from the beginning as they held an eight point lead after three minutes, a 10 point lead after seven minutes, and a 14 point margin with 11:40 left in the opening 20 minutes. The Spartans, despite struggling from the floor in the first half, continued to build on their lead as the advantage reached a half-high of 16 point four different times with the last time coming on a pair of Amanda Andrews’ (Fallston, Md./Fallston) free throws with 2:07 left in the half. Those would be the final points of the stanza as York took a 35-19 lead to the break.
    York managed to convert just 37.8% from the floor in the first half but the Spartan defense held the Diplomats to 26.1% shooting for the frame as they hit just 6-of-23 from the field.
    York used the first five minutes of the second half to put the game away. The Spartans began the half with a 13-2 run that increased their lead to 27 at 48-21. The Spartans, despite again not shooting the ball well in the half, maintained their lead in the 20’s the remainder of the game. York’s largest lead was 28 and came courtesy of a Val Hudson (Bowie, Md./Bowie) jumper with 3:28 remaining in the game.
    The 23 point final margin was the closest game the Spartans have had since their November 23 nine point win over Johns Hopkins in the Mike Durgala Memorial Tournament in Baltimore.
    The Spartans were led by All-Tournament team selection April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) as the sophomore notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sparkman added two assists as she earned a spot on the All-Tournament team for the second time this year. Sparkman was the MVP of the Durgala Tournament in November. Senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) matched Sparkman with 14 points of her own as she also had eight rebounds, four steals, a blocked shot, and an assist. Senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) reached a pair of career milestones on Sunday. With the game’s opening assist, Ward reached the 500 career assist mark as she is the first Spartan to reach that milestone. Ward then reached the 1,200 career point plateau with her free throw at the 14:24 mark of the second half. The senior finished the game with eight points, 10 assists, five steals, and four rebounds.  Andrews, who earned the tournament MVP honors, finished the game with eight points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal in her 26 minutes of action.
    Sarah Meisenberg and Alison Menna each tallied 10 points to pace the Diplomats. Meisenberg added three rebounds, two steals and two assists as she was 3-for-8 from the floor. Menna, who was the Diplomat representative on the All-Tournament team, added two rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Amanda Miceli contributed eight points and five rebounds to the Diplomat effort.
    York finished the game shooting a season-low 38.6% from the field while they also went just 3-for-17 from deep. York did convert 11-for-14 from the free throw line for the contest.
    The Spartan defense limited the Dips to just 28.6% shooting from the floor while they made just 2-for-9 from three. The Diplomats were very sharp from the charity stripe as they made 15-for-18 from the line, good for a 83.3% mark.
    York forced the Diplomats into 21 turnovers which they converted into 25 points. The Spartans also pounded the Diplomats on the glass holding a 47-34 edge on the glass. York pulled down 21 offensive rebounds which led to 26 second chance points for the Green and White.
    The road gets significantly tougher on Wednesday as the Spartans travel to Mary Washington to face the 13th ranked Eagles in a Capital Athletic Conference showdown. The Spartans put their 10 game win streak up against the Eagles’ 36-game homecourt win streak. Tip time in Fredericksburg is set for 6:00 pm.

GAME BOX

Photo of Tournament MVP Amanda Andrews is courtesy of Steve Doemland