SALISBURY, MD - The York College women’s basketball team used a late second half run to capture a historic win for head coach Betsy Witman as the Spartans notched a 67-64 victory over Salisbury University on Wednesday night at the Maggs Center in Salisbury, MD. The victory was the 200th in the 13-year career of Witman as the Spartan mentor reached the important personal milestone in exciting fashion.
The Spartans improve to 7-6 overall and 3-2 in the Capital Athletic Conference while the Sea Gulls have lost five straight as they fall to 5-7 overall and 2-3 in the league.
The Sea Gulls seized momentum midway through the first half as they led 24-16 with 7:49 remaining in the stanza. The Spartans used an 11-4 run to cut their deficit to one at 28-27. The Gulls maintained the lead until senior Jamie Polan (York, Pa./West York) canned a bucket with 43 seconds left in the half to give York a 33-32 lead. The teams traded a Kylie Hall basket and a pair of Khadija Mitchell (Bel Air, Md./Mercy) free throws to give York a 35-34 halftime lead.
The second half opened with a 12-4 Spartan run keyed by five points from Mitchell as the York lead grew to 47-38 early in the stanza. The Sea Gulls used the next ten minutes to whittle the Spartan lead down until Salisbury finally captured a 55-54 lead on a Nicole Sisco jumper. Sisco’s jumper actually came in the middle of a 9-1 Sea Gull run that gave the hosts a 60-55 lead with 3:56 remaining in the game.
That’s when April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) and Mitchell teamed up to win the game for the Green and White. Sparkman began the Spartan comeback with a free throw at the 4:12 mark. That started a run that saw the Spartans score 13 of the next 16 points of the game to take a 67-62 lead with just five seconds remaining. Sparkman had seven points on the run while Mitchell added five points in the run. The Sea Gulls got the final two points on a pair of free throws with 0.3 seconds left in the game but the deciding spurt had handed the Spartans the milestone win.
Sparkman had a career night with 25 points and 17 rebounds. The 25 points tied Sparkman’s career high while the 17 rebounds establishes a new standard for the junior. Sparkman was 6-for-12 from the floor including 2-for-3 from three. She also made a career-high 11 free throws in 16 attempts. Sparkman also blocked four shots and collected three steals in her 39 minutes of action. Mitchell was outstanding for the second straight game as she contributed 16 points and four assists. Mitchell was 3-for-7 from the line, 1-for-4 from three and 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Freshman Jess Kramer (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) had a solid night with six points and seven boards in her 20 minutes of action.
Hall was very good in the losing effort as she notched the double-double with 21 points and 19 rebounds. Hall was 7-for-12 from the floor but just 7-for-14 from the charity stripe. Janay Johnson added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Gulls while Chante McKinney was the third Sea Gull in double figures with 10 points.
The Sea Gulls outrebounded the Spartans 53-43 but York held a 23-14 edge in second chance points. Salisbury dominated the scoring inside with a 42-22 edge in points in the paint.
Neither team was very accurate from the floor as York shot 32.8% while Salisbury shot 37.5%. York was just 4-for-20 from three while Salisbury was 0-for-6 from distance. The Spartans won the game from the free throw line as they went 25-for-36 (69.4%) while Salisbury went just 16-for-30 (53.3%) from the stripe in the contest.
Witman’s 200 win milestone comes less than five years after her 100th which was a 68-64 win over Elizabethtown on February 9, 2004. Her 150th victory came on November 20, 2007 win over Goucher College. It took Witman just 67 games to get to 200, as the Spartans are 50-17 since that milestone victory over Goucher.
The Spartans return to home for a brief two-game home stand starting Saturday night when they host Stevenson University in a 5:00 pm Capital Athletic Conference contest. The game against Stevenson will be preceded by the annual Spartan Alumni Game that will tip off at 3:00 pm. That alumni game is open to the public.
Betsy Witman photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgephoto.smugmug.com/).