YORK, Pa. – The York College women's basketball team advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship game on Saturday courtesy of a 64-51 victory over Salisbury Thursday evening in York. The Spartans move on with a 22-4 record while the Sea Gulls fall to 15-11 on the year.
Senior April Sparkman proved a tremendous force for the Green and White as she tallied a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds. Sparkman, whose 25 ties a career-high for Sparkman against Salisbury, went 10-for-22 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line to lead York to the semifinal triumph.
The Spartans opened up a huge first half advantage, embarking on a 16-2 run over the contest's first 7:17 as Sparkman pumped in ten of York's first 16 points. Maintaining a steady double-digit advantage through the rest of the opening frame, Sparkman put York up 16 with a layup at the 5:23 mark as York led 30-14. When the Spartan lead crested to a first-half maximum of 22 at 39-17 with 50 seconds remaining, it was Sparkman yet again who provided the bucket. Courtesy of that late layup, the Green and White went into the break owning that same 22-point margin.
The second period began much like the first ended as the Spartans held a lead which fluctuated between 18 and 20 through the first 7:40.
However, at the 11:51 mark Salisbury began to draw dangerously close to the Green and White. Led by Anna Hackett, the Sea Gulls embarked on a 13-2 spurt over a 5:54 span. That stretch cut deep into the Spartan advantage as with 5:57 remaining York led by a mere four a 49-45.
But it would be Sparkman who halted the Sea Gull run, knocking down back-to-back buckets. With 5:43 left, the senior hit a triple from the left corner, then finished off a layup with 4:58 to play to bring the Spartan lead back to nine at 54-45.
The Green and White extended that advantage to double-digits on a Kristen Haley traditional three-point play with 1:25 remaining. Haley's ensuing free throw gave York a ten-point 59-49 lead. The Spartans salted away the victory with a 5-for-7 performance from stripe over the final minute to garner the 64-51 triumph and head to the CAC Tournament title game.
Aside from Sparkman's brilliant showing, Haley posted 15 points while Kelsey Murphy was the third Spartan in double-figures with ten. Point guard Aja Wallpher put together a steady effort with four points, six rebounds, and eight assists.
Salisbury's Hackett led her squad with 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting plus a 3-for-4 performance from the stripe. Nicole Sisco registered 12 points while Cinthia Ruiz totaled 11.
Making their second consecutive trip to the CAC Tournament championship game, third in the last four seasons, the Spartans square off with #7 Mary Washington on Saturday in Fredericksburg. Tip off is scheduled for Saturday at a yet-to-be-determined time. Check back to www.ycpspartans.com for official game time information.
PHOTO: April Sparkman handles the ball against Salisbury during York's CAC Tournament semifinal victory on Thursday evening in York. Courtesy of Zach Rogers - Student Photographer.