YORK, PA- The York College women’s basketball team made a little history on Saturday afternoon in Wolf Gymnasium. The Spartans became the first Capital Athletic Conference women’s basketball team to go 16-0 in conference play after the Green and White posted a 70-57 win over Marymount University in the 2008-09 regular season finale.
The Spartans finished the regular season having won 24 straight as they stand at 24-1 overall. The Saints finished the regular season with a mark of 20-5 overall and 13-3 in the CAC as they finished second in the league, three games behind the Spartans. York is currently ranked seventh in the WBCA USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and ninth in the d3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.
The Spartans are the sixth team to go through conference play unbeaten as the Marymount Saints did it in 1992, 1994, 1996, and 1997 while Mary Washington accomplished the feat in 2006. However, York is the first team to record 16 wins while going undefeated, as the others did not play as many conference games during their undefeated campaigns.
Prior to opening tip, the Spartans recognized their six player senior class as Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford), Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg), Amanda Andrews (Fallston, Md./Fallston), Amy Fry (Carlisle, Pa./Big Spring), Donna Figenshu (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville), and Jackie Garlock (Bedford, Pa./Bedford) were playing their final regular season home game.
The Spartans rode the wave of emotion stemming from Senior Day as the Green and White led the Saints 7-4 just over four minutes into the game. The Spartans then put together a 20-4 run that covered just over six minutes. The Spartan lead eventually grew to 22 at 34-12 with 7:46 remaining in the first half. The Saints responded by scoring 11 of the final 16 points of the half to trim their deficit to 39-23 at the half.
The Saints came out of the intermission and used a sustained 16-6 run over the first six minutes of the second stanza to cut York’s lead to just six at 45-39. The Spartans responded in a fashion they have all year as Ward and Andrews hit three pointers on consecutive possessions to quickly push the York lead back to 12. Marymount cut the Spartan lead to single digits for the final time at 51-42 but York got an April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) triple with 10:20 left to push the lead back into double figures, which is where it would stay the rest of the way.
Ward paced the Spartans yet again as the York point guard poured in a game-high 24 points, handed out five assists, had four rebounds and five steals in 39 minutes of work. Ward was 10-for-18 from the floor, 2-for-4 from three, and 2-for-2 from the line. She did not commit a turnover in the game despite facing heavy pressure from the Saints all day. Fry made her Senior Day a memorable one as she tallied 14 points, a career-high eight assists, and four rebounds in just 25 minutes of action. Fry was 7-for-9 from the field while she also had a pair of steals. Sparkman was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points, three assists and a pair of rebounds. Fellow sophomore Jaimie Sapp (Bluemount, Va./ Loudoun Valley) chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds in the contest.
Kathleen Brown led the Saints as the forward recorded a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Brown was 6-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-8 from the free throw line. Maame Amponsah was the other Saint in double figures with 10 points while she also had five rebounds. Carolyn Riley chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds for Marymount.
The Spartan defense played well all day as they forced 25 Saint turnovers, which they turned into 22 points. York committed 19 miscues but Marymount scored just nine points of the Spartan mistakes. Marymount finished the game shooting 37.7% from the field and 11.1% (1-for-9) from three. The Spartans converted 46% of their attempts from the floor while they went 7-for-14 (50%) from beyond the arc.
The Saints struggled from the free throw line and the Spartans were lucky they did. Marymount shot 57.1% from the line as they went 16-for-28 for the game. The Saints went to the line a whopping 20 more times than the Spartans as York made just eight trips to the stripe, converting five of those attempts. Marymount held a slight 34-30 edge in points in the paint while they also had a 16-12 margin in second chance points.
The Spartans return to action on Thursday evening in the Capital
Athletic Conference semifinals. The Spartans, who are the top seed
in the tournament, will face the winner of Tuesday’s
quarterfinal game featuring Salisbury and Wesley. The winner of
that game travels to York for a 7:00 pm tip off on Thursday.