YORK, Pa. – The York College women's basketball team suffered a tough 54-48 loss at the hands of #8 Mary Washington in Capital Athletic Conference action Saturday afternoon at the Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center. The defeat drops the Spartans to 19-4 and 12-2 in league play while the Eagles remain undefeated and carry a 22-0 mark, having captured the CAC regular season crown with a 14-0 record.
Katie Wimmer and Carol Dye led the way for the Mary Washington squad as each tallied 16 points and six rebounds. Wimmer notched seven of those points from the stripe while Dye went 8-for-15 from the field.
Despite the loss, Spartan sophomore point guard Aja Wallpher put together a stupendous effort. She led the Green and White with 16 points on a 7-for-14 effort from the floor. Those 16 proved just one shy of her career-best 17 points she scored against Gettysburg on November 11 of this season. Aside from her point total, the steady Wallpher grabbed seven rebounds, snagged four steals, and distributed a trio of assists as she was all over the floor during her 40 minutes of work.
The opening minutes, and much of the entire game, proved a defensive clash as neither squad was able to get much to drop offensively. Mary Washington, sporting the nation's top scoring defense allowing just 40.4 points per game heading into Saturday's tilt, forced the Spartans to struggle early. The Green and White began the game shooting just 2-for-18 from the floor over the first 12 minutes. However, that showing was tempered by York's presence on their own defensive end. The visiting Eagles were only able to open up a slight seven-point advantage throughout the first 12 minutes, as they only registered just a 6-for-19 effort during that span.
With 3:37 remaining in the first half, the Eagles gained their second seven-point lead at 19-12 courtesy of a Rachel Martin triple. York responded with a 9-4 run, which included a five-point burst, to cut lead to 23-21 Mary Washington with just 1:17 left in the opening frame. The Eagles would get one more bucket before going into the halftime break with a 25-21 lead.
The second stanza saw the Green and White push, cutting the lead to five on three occasions, but the home squad was never able reel in their guests.
With 13:13 showing on the second half clock, April Sparkman knocked down a free throw to bring the Spartans to within five at 35-30. Mary Washington followed by opening their lead to nine at 39-30 but the Spartans continued to hang around, aided by triples from Brittany Hicks and Kristen Haley. Haley's three brought the Spartans to within five once more at 41-36 with 8:11 to play. However, that would prove as close as York could come throughout the final minutes.
York did get the game to within two possessions as Hicks notched an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:37 remaining. The Green and White were not able to capitalize though as Mary Washington finished off their 22nd triumph of the season.
Hicks finished the contest with ten points and eleven rebounds to secure her eighth double-double of the 2011-12 campaign. She led the Green and White with those eleven caroms while Sparkman chipped in with eleven points.
The Eagles bettered the Spartans on the boards as they secured 52 rebounds, including 18 on the offensive end, to York's 37. Haley, a regular force for York in the rebounding department averaging 8.5 per game, was held to a season-low 19 minutes as early foul trouble forced the tough sophomore into limited action.
Saturday's loss snaps the Spartans' nine-game winning streak, which dates back to York's January 11 65-50 CAC victory at Hood. This most recent streak matches the Green and White's best consecutive victories spurt this year, a run of nine triumphs from November 19 (57-50 over F&M) to December 29 (76-70 over FDU-Florham).
PHOTO: Aja Wallpher looks to drive past a Mary Washington defender during Saturday's CAC contest in York. Courtesy of Theresa Dark - York College (Pa.) Athletic Communications Student Photographer.