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Balanced Spartans Advance to the CAC Championship Game

   YORK, PA-The York College women’s basketball team entered Thursday’s Capital Athletic Conference semifinals a team that posted the greatest regular season in the history of the program. If Thursday’s 72-53 victory over Wesley College is any indication of their post-season hopes, things are looking very bright for the Green and White.
    The Spartans rolled to their 25th consecutive win as they advanced to the CAC championship game for just the second time in school history. York will host the third seeded Mary Washington Eagles, a 77-70 victor over second-seeded Marymount, in the title game on Saturday at 2:00 pm in York.
    The Spartans are ranked fifth in the nation according to the WBCA USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and eighth in the d3hoops.com Top 25.
    The Spartans, who had not played since last Saturday, were a little rusty early on as the Wolverines led 14-10 just over seven minutes into the game. York then embarked on a 15-3 run that covered six minutes. It was a spurt fueled by senior Chanel Perez (Biglerville, Pa./Gettysburg) as she scored five points during the run. That gave the Spartans a 25-17 margin with 6:08 remaining in the half. The Wolverines trimmed the Spartan lead to five three times in the next three minutes but York went on a quick 7-2 run to end the half up 13 at 39-26.
    The Spartans extended their half-ending run with a 10-2 dash that upped the Spartan lead to 49-28 only 3:40 into the half. Senior point guard Keli Ward (Nottingham, Pa./Oxford) ignited the run with four straight points after only scoring one point in the first half. The Spartans margin grew to a  game-high 30 on a Ward lay up with 9:10 remaining in the game. The Spartans scored just six points the rest of the way but the Spartan advantage was far too great for the Wolverines to overcome.
    Sophomore Jaimie Sapp (Bluemont, Va./Loudon Valley) had a career night as the sophomore post player had a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor including a perfect 3-for-3 mark from the line. Sapp added three rebounds, two blocks and a pair of steals. Fellow sophomore April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) added 16 points on a very efficient 6-of-9 performance from the floor including a pair of threes and two free throws. Sparkman added six rebounds and three blocked shots as she harassed Wesley point guard Cory Boyd into 5-for-17 shooting from the floor. Perez contributed 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals in one of her most balanced performances of the year. Ward, the Spartans’ Jostens Trophy finalist, nearly had a third career triple double as she had 13 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Ward, who has a team-high 14 double-doubles in 2008-09, added two steals and a blocked shot as she tallied 12 of her 13 points in the second half.
    The Spartans shot 48.2% from the floor for the game while they converted 4-for-6 from three and a blistering 14-for-16 (87.5%) from the free throw line.
    Wesley received a game-high 20 points from Colleen Thomas as the junior forward was 7-for-11 from the floor including 4-for-6 from three and 2-for-2 from the line. Boyd was the other Wolverine in double figures with 13 hard-earned points. Boyd, who is second to Ward in assists in the CAC, handed out seven helpers and had three turnovers in her 38 minutes of action. Angie Owens, the Wolverines dangerous forward, was held in check, partly by the Spartans and partly by foul trouble. Owens finished the game with eight points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
    The Spartans held the Wolverines to 33.9% shooting for the game. It is the 24th time this season the Spartans have held a team below 45% shooting and the 16th time they have held an opponent below 35% shooting from the field. The Wolverines did connect from distance as they were 8-for-20 from distance in the game, good for a 40% mark from three. Wesley went 5-for-8 from the free throw line for the contest.
    The Wolverines handled York on the glass as they outrebounded the hosts 37-34 including a whopping 17 offensive rebounds. Those offensive boards led to only nine second chance points. The Spartan defense forced 17 turnovers which York converted into 24 points. Conversely, the Spartans’ 12 miscues became just four Wesley points.
    Saturday’s championship game against the Eagles will tip at 2:00 pm with doors at the Grumbacher Center opening at 1:00 pm. Admission, as determined by the Capital Athletic  Conference, is $7.00 for all adults and $3.00 for students. All York College students will be admitted free courtesy of York College with a valid ID. 

GAME BOX

Jaimie Sapp photo courtesy of Steve Doemland (www.stevedoemland.com)

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