January 18, 2010

Strong Second Half Lifts Seahawks over Spartans

YORK, PA – The York College women’s basketball team dropped their second straight Capital Athletic Conference home game as the Spartans fell to St. Mary’s College 64-59 at Charles Wolf Gymnasium on Monday night.

The Spartans fall to 7-8 overall and 3-4 in the CAC, while the Seahawks improve to 4-11 and 3-4 in the league.

The low scoring first half was tightly contested with neither team leading by more than five. After the Spartans opened the scoring, St. Mary’s scored the next six points for the early three point lead. The Spartans scored seven of the next 11 points to tie the game at 10 on an April Sparkman (Walkersville, Md./Walkersville) jumper with 11:21 remaining in the half. That started a stretch were there were four ties and six lead changes. The fourth tie came at 24 with 1:33 left in the stanza. The Spartans scored the final four points of the opening 20 minutes as they took a 28-24 edge to the break.

Usually a halftime lead is a good omen for the Spartans, but for the first time in seven games when it has happened, the Green and White could not hold on for the win.

The second half saw the Seahawks’ Steph Saint-Aubin assert herself as St. Mary’s leading scorer led the guests to the comeback victory. The opening minutes of the second half looked very much like the first 20 minutes of the game. The game went back and forth with neither team able to gain any significant momentum. The Seahawks gained the lead for good with 10:51 left in the game as Pui Sham drained a deep three to give the guests a 41-40 lead. Saint-Aubin hit a fast break lay up off a turnover before Dija Mitchell (Bel Air, Md./Mercy) hit a three from the left wing, tying the game for the seventh and final time. Saint-Aubin converted a lay up 29 seconds later and the Seahawks would hold the lead the rest of the game.

York cut the lead to one with 3:04 left on another Mitchell trey. Unfortunately for York, they would be unable to get stops down the stretch or convert on the offensive end as St. Mary’s pulled out the win.

Saint-Aubin recorded a double-double with a pair of game-highs as she had 18 points and 11 rebounds. She was 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe. Sham took advantage of the Spartans’ zone defense and added 17 points including five three point field goals. She was 5-for-9 from three and 6-for-12 from the floor overall. Jamie Roberts scored 11 of her 13 points in the decisive second half as she went 9-for-12 from the free throw line in the stanza.

Mitchell continued her outstanding play of late as she led York with 15 points in 23 minutes of play. Mitchell was 5-for-10 from the floor including 3-of-5 from distance and 2-for-2 from the stripe. Junior Caitlin Byrne (Westminster, Md./Winters Mill) added a career-high 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting from the floor while she made all five of her free throw attempts. Sparkman was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points while she also had four rebounds.

The eight-player Seahawks outrebounded the Spartans 42-28 in the game as they held a 14-5 edge in second chance points. The Seahawks also finished with a 24-18 margin in points in the paint.

The Seahawks shot 37.3% from the floor while York converted 38.3% of their chances from the field. St. Mary’s attempted 12 more shots from the floor thanks to their rebounding margin. The Seahawks canned 6-of-14 (42.9%) from three while York was 5-for-14 (35.7%). The Spartans were again very strong from the free throw line as they shot 85.7% (18-for-21) for the game.

The Spartans now must trek to the University of Mary Washington to face the defending CAC tournament champion Eagles in a 6:00 pm contest. York then travels to Wesley to face the Wolverines before returning home next Tuesday against McDaniel.

Dija Mitchell photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh.