YORK, Pa. — On a career night for freshmen guards Kelsey Murphy and Aja Wallpher, the York College women's basketball team (9-8, 6-3 CAC) rolled past the visiting Saints from Marymount University (9-6, 7-2 CAC) 54-38. The victory notched another win in the Spartans' current streak of three, while also putting an end to the Saints' run of five consecutive wins.
Immediately from the start of the game, Murphy began put on a shooting clinic from beyond the arc as she drained the first points of the game to give York a lead that they would not relinquish. By the game's end Murphy tied her career-high for three-pointers made by accumulating five on just seven attempts, prompting head coach Betsy Witman to later exclaim, "She's one of the best three-point shooters I've ever had."
"The guards did a great job driving [to the basket] and kicking [the ball out for a three-point attempt]," Murphy stated.
However, it was the team's effective defense that was able to secure a win over a powerful Marymount squad. Through the first 7:18 of the game, the Spartans did not surrender a single field goal while going on a 16-1 run to open the contest.
In addition to getting fantastic looks on the offensive end, Murphy was given the responsibility of defending Saints' guard Amanda Billy, who was averaging 14.6 points per game during the 2010-11 season. Murphy was able to keep Billy in check, allowing her to sink only three baskets while taking 15 shots.
Throughout the game, the Green and White implemented a strong man-to-man defensive scheme that did not permit the Saints to garner open looks at the basket and eventually leading to forced off-balance shots as Marymount tried to avoid a shot clock violation. By halftime the Spartans led 21-12, having only allowed three made shots on 19 attempts, which equates to a mere 15.8% from the field.
York came out of the locker room playing an up-tempo offense, while frustration continued on Marymount's own offensive end. The Green and White held the Saints scoreless in the second half for the first 3:13, while they were able to extend their lead to 16, upping the score to 30-14. With only 5:21 remaining, a York victory seemed inevitable, as the lead had increased to a game-high 22.
To complement Murphy's ferocity, Wallpher was able to inject her own tenacity into the defensive unit by amassing a career-best seven steals while also grabbing four defensive rebounds en route to a career-high total of seven and adding 10 points to boot.
"Our strength right now has been at the defensive end," Witman said. "We can really hang our hat on defense. It has carried us through the last couple of games."
The Spartans finished the game shooting 37.3% from the field with only 17 turnovers while holding Marymount to 23.4% as they accrued 23 turnovers.
"All of us played a complete game," Wallpher stated. "This season's had its ups and downs but we've beaten Marymount before so we knew we could beat them again. We need to stay positive but can't let our heads get too big. We can never be satisfied."
York travels to Frostburg State on Wednesday, January 26, for a 6:00 pm tilt before heading to Hood on January 29, as both contests are CAC match-ups.
Game story written by Matt Pucci - York College Athletic Communications contributing writer
PHOTO: Kelsey Murphy tied a career-high with five made threes as she led the Spartans to a 54-38 triumph over Marymount Saturday in York. Photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com