Solid 'D' Leads Spartans Past Mustangs, 63-43

YORK, Pa. – The York College women's basketball team improved their 2010-11 record to 12-10 (9-4 CAC) after handily defeating the visiting Mustangs of Stevenson University (3-19, 2-12 CAC) 63-43, Wednesday evening at York's Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center.

Led by the defensive effort of freshman point guard Aja Wallpher, who added five steals to her conference-leading season total, the Spartans were able to hold Stevenson to just 27.9% shooting from the floor, allowing a mere 12 field goals throughout the game.

Freshman guard Kelsey Murphy got York's scoring spree started as she answered a Stevenson three-pointer with one of her own, as both teams exchanged opening triples, on the first two shots of regulation. After the initial 2:08, the Mustangs led the Green and White 8-7, in a contest that seemed as though it would turn into an inevitable slugfest.

As the game progressed, the scoring slowed at times on both ends, however Murphy's hot-hand continued draining shots from beyond the arc as she began the game a perfect 4-for-4 on three-pointers.

"We did a lot of inside-out [passing], and got a lot of great passes [for open shots] that way," stated Murphy.

Murphy's shooting clinic combined with the presence of senior center Jamie Sapp in the low post led York to a commanding 37-19 lead at half, an edge that the Green and White would not surrender at any point through the second period of play.

"They didn't really have an answer for our post players," said Wallpher. "So we just kept pounding the ball inside."

Wallpher ensured the Spartan offense stuck to the game plan by delivering crisp passes down low to both Sapp and freshman forward Brittany Hicks, as both totaled double-digit scoring figures, 14 and 13, respectively. With the offensive unit showcasing their prowess, the Green and White upheld its weight on the defensive end as they did not allow Stevenson to come within 13 points of the Spartans' lead for the entirety of the second half.

"We need that balance of inside and outside, and we had that tonight," stated head coach Betsy Witman. "Even though we didn't shoot well in the second half, we still played great defense and found ways to score."

Although she may only be a freshman, Wallpher has inherited the point guard position with grace and poise as she exemplifies seniority on the court beyond her years. Knowing full well that she helps to control the team and its success, she is in agreement with Coach Whitman that the squad needs to take each game in stride with a certain level of confidence.

"With each win we keep thinking that this is the time that we're going to peak," said Wallpher. "We just need to [continue that mindset and] go into each game with confidence."
With just three games remaining on the regular season schedule, all of which are conference match-ups, the Spartans are currently in sole possession of second place in the CAC standings, which bodes well for a solid showing during the conference playoffs. After winning six of their last eight, the team simply needs to keep riding the wave of coolness and take it day-by-day.

Next up for the Green and White will be visiting Mary Washington on Saturday, February 12, before traveling to Wesley on February 16. The regular season will culminate on "Senior Night," February 19, when the Spartans host Salisbury in a 4:00 pm CAC tilt.

Aja Wallpher photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com

Game story written by Matt Pucci - York College athletic communications contributing writer