YORK, PA – The nationally ranked York College women's basketball team rode another outstanding defensive performance to remain unbeaten after a 67-41 victory over Franklin & Marshall College on Monday.
The Spartans improve to 7-0 overall with the non-conference win. York is ranked 12th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 14th in the d3hoops.com Poll. The Diplomats fall to 3-4 overall as Franklin & Marshall has lost four straight after their 3-0 start. The Spartans' 7-0 start is the best in school history, surpassing the 2007-08 squad for the longest win streak to start a season.
The game had a decidedly offensive tone early on in the contest. The Diplomats owned an 8-7 lead just 3:34 into the game. That's when the Spartans locked down the Dips and used a 13-0 run to take a 20-8 lead at the 11:38 mark.
Unfortunately for York, the Spartans then went ice cold from the field. York would go 0-for-12 from the floor including 0-for-2 from three and 0-for-2 from the free throw line while they turned the ball over four times over a 7:53 stretch. That enabled the Diplomats to cut the Spartan lead to 20-17.
The Spartan offense found it's groove over the final 3:45 of the half as junior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) hit a jumper to halt the drought. That started an 11-0 spurt to close the half, pushing York's lead to 31-17. Senior Loreta Tonuzi (Hazlet, N.J./Raritan) put a cap on the run with a three-pointer with two seconds prior to the halftime horn.
The Spartans continued to take the play to the Diplomats to start the second half as York began the second stanza with a 16-3 run as they pushed the lead to 27 points with over 12 minutes left in the game. York's lead would not fall below 18 points the rest of the way.
Hicks was fantastic again as the Spartan forward led all scorers with as season-high 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor including 2-for-3 from distance. Hicks was also 8-for-9 from the free throw line. She narrowly missed her sixth double-double of the year with nine rebounds in her 34 minutes of action. Not only was Hicks the Spartans' best offensive player but she hounded the Diplomats' preseason All-American Alexa Barbush into 6-for-18 shooting from the floor as she was held to 13 points, five points below her season average of 18.
Junior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) was the other Spartan in double figures as she poured in a season-high 14 points including a season-high four three point field goals. Junior Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) had an outstanding floor game as she had eight assists, zero turnovers, seven steals, four points and four rebounds in her 35 minutes of work. Sophomore Kailee Knight (Crofton, Md./South River) just missed a double-double with a career-high nine points while she pulled in 11 rebounds. Junior Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) also pulled in 11 rebounds for York.
Emma Lisle played well for the Diplomats as she notched 12 points and 16 rebounds for the double-double. Lisle was 6-for-11 from the floor while she also blocked a pair of shots in 33 minutes of action. Barbush added three rebounds, three assists, and two steals to her 13 points, as she was the second Diplomat in double figures.
The Diplomats outrebounded York 45-42 however the Spartans had a 17-10 edge in second chance points.
The Green and White struggled from the floor as they shot just 28.3% for the game. Despite their low overall shooting percentage, York converted a season-high 47.1% from three. Their eight three-pointers made were a season-high. The Spartans were also very good from the free throw line as they attempted a season-high 33 free throws while the also made a season-high 25, good for a 75.8% mark.
The Diplomats were held 20 points below their season average while their 28.6% shooting percentage was just under eight percentage points below their average. The Diplomats went just 2-for-8 from three while they were 7-of-9 from the free throw line.
York did a fantastic job of taking care of the ball as they committed a season-low eight turnovers, one game after having a season-high 26 at St. Mary's. The Spartans forced 22 Diplomat turnovers, which York turned into 23 points.
The Spartans close out the fall portion of their schedule on Saturday when they travel to Wesley College to face the Wolverines in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Game time is set for 1:00 pm in Dover, Delaware.
Kelsey Murphy photo courtesy of Theresa Dark - Athletic Communications Student Photographer