Dominant Effort Lifts Spartans to Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Crown
YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball team rolled to a convincing 79-53 win over Bridgewater in the championship game of the Seventh Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Saturday in York.
The tournament championship is the fourth in the seven years of the event. York also won the tournament last year in addition to winning it in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009.
The Spartans improve to 2-0 while the Eagles fall to 1-1.
York blitzed the Eagles early and often with suffocating defense and efficient offense. York opened the game on a 15-0 run as they forced six Eagle turnovers in the opening five minutes of the game. The run was capped by a Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) triple, her second of the run as the Spartans got off to a blistering start. The Spartan lead grew to 18 on a Karli McFatridge (York, Pa./York Catholic) three with 11:38 left in the half.
Bridgewater closed the gap to ten at 30-20 with 6:10 left in the stanza but the Green and White hit the Eagles with a 14-2 run to push their advantage to 22 at 44-22 with 1:51 remaining in the half. York would settle for a 46-26 lead heading to the break.
The first half was nearly ideal for the Spartans as they held the Eagles to just six field goals and 24% shooting while York forced 12 Bridgewater turnovers. On the offensive end, the Spartans shot 48.6% from the floor including 4-for-9 from three.
The second half saw the Spartans continue to play well as they pushed the lead to a game-high of 31 at 66-35 before head coach Betsy Witman was able to give her entire roster significant playing time in the second half. All 17 players saw at least five minutes of action in the win.
The Spartans were paced by tournament MVP Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) as she poured in 17 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked two shots in the victory. Haley was a very efficient 8-for-12 from the floor including a three pointer. Fellow all-tournament team member Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) notched her first double-double of the year with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The senior All-American was 5-for-8 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. Senior Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) had a double-double of her own with 10 points and 10 assists. Wallpher also had a trio of steals in her 25 minutes of action. Murphy added eight points and a stellar defensive effort as the senior guard notched a career-high five steals in the victory.
The scoring was balanced for York as 13 players found the scoring column in the win.
Holly Morgan, the Eagles' All-Tournament team representative, tallied 12 points to lead Bridgewater. Seven of Morgan's points came in the final four minutes of the game against the Spartan reserves. Cassidy Burkholder added 11 points and four rebounds to the Eagle effort. Point guard Jessi Strom, who torched Waynesburg for 21 points on Friday night was limited to just three points in the loss.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 45.7% from the floor including a very effective 6-for-13 (46.2%) from three. The Spartans again struggled from the stripe, going a chilly 9-for-21 (42.9%) from the line.
Bridgewater shot 27.3% from the floor for the contest including 4-for-15 (26.7%) from three. The Eagles were dead on from the stripe, knocking down 19 of their 22 attempts (86.4%).
The Spartans again held a large advantage in the paint as they outscored the Eagles 44-16 inside while they also scored 22 points of 29 Bridgewater turnovers.
The Green and White won't have much time to savor the tournament championship, as they must begin preparations for Wednesday's big non-conference tilt against Eastern Mennonite. Tip time at Wolf Gymnasium is slated for 6:00 pm.
Championship photo courtesy of Brittany Alvarado