YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball team passed a huge Capital Athletic Conference test on Saturday afternoon as the Spartans bested #14 Christopher Newport 75-63 in a fantastic college basketball game in York.
The Spartans improve to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference while the Captains fall to 6-2 overall and 0-1 in the league. The contest was the Captains' first-ever CAC game.
The game was a treat for an enthused crowd at Wolf Gymnasium. The contest featured a tight and well played first half, a big second half lead for York, a furious Christopher Newport comeback and a fantastic game-closing run by the Spartans.
The game featured three ties in the opening six minutes of the game before the Spartans used a 9-2 run to take an 18-11 lead at the 12:17 mark. The Captains responded by scoring 16 of the game's next 23 points, as they took a 27-25 lead with 7:39 left in the opening stanza.
Junior Jess Selby (Upper Marlboro, Md./Calverton) then led the Spartans on a quick 11-3 spurt as the Spartans took a 36-30 lead. Selby hit a three, a lay up and another three during the run as the Spartans gained control just before the half. York would go on to take a 38-34 lead at the break.
While the Spartans usually make hay in the paint, it was their long-distance shooting that provided for a majority of their first half scoring. The Spartans dialed up eight first half threes as the Green and White scored 24 of their 38 points from downtown.
The second half was a tale of two huge runs. The Spartans rode a fantastic defensive effort over the first six minutes of the half as they held the high-flying Captains to just two points while the York offense notched 14 points to push out to a game-high 52-26 advantage. The run covered 6:10 and was capped with a Shea Wassel (North Wales, Pa./Lansdale Catholic) lay up.
The veteran Captains responded in a way you would expect a team who is picked by the coaches to win the CAC in their first year of membership. The Captains fashioned a sustained 27-9 run, turning their 16-point deficit into a two-point lead. CNU forced eight Spartan miscues during the run as York attempted just five shots from the field during the 8:50 of play.
The Captains would cap the run with an Andrea Hobbs lay up with exactly five minutes left in the game. That's when the Spartans dug deep and used their experience to seize the victory when it looked like the Captains had all the momentum.
York tied the game on a Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) lay up at the 4:47 mark. Haley then gave the Spartans the lead for good as fellow senior Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) fed her for another lay up, putting York up 65-63.
After Haley's second bucket, the Spartan defense buckled down, forcing a miss on the Captains next possession. Senior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) was then fouled and converted a pair of free throws to put York up four with 3:03 left. The Captains would come up empty on their next two possessions as Hicks and Haley would each hit lay ups, extending York's advantage to 71-62. York converted two more free throws and a lay up to provide for their final 12-point margin of victory. The Spartans ended the game on a 14-0 run as Hobbs' hoop at the five minute mark provided the Captains' last points of the game. The Captains went 0-for-9 from the floor over the final 4:20 of the game.
Hicks led the Spartans as the senior All-American poured in a game-high 21 points while she also pulled in a game-high 10 rebounds. The double-double was her fourth of the year and 30th of her career. Hicks was 6-for-13 from the floor and 2-for-3 from three as she drained all seven of her free throw attempts. Selby added a season-high 15 points as she went 6-for-12 from the floor including a season-high three triples. Selby pulled in five assists in her 21 minutes of play. Haley played a solid game with 11 points and nine rebounds while senior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) was the fourth Spartan in double figures with 10 points as she continues to march towards becoming York's all-time leader in three pointers. Murphy banged home two more triples as she now just three away from tying former Spartan great Heather Kessler for the school record.
Wallpher was dynamic in leading York on the court as she dished out a season-high 12 assists to go along with her five points, four rebounds, and one steal.
Nicole Mitchell led the Captains as the forward tallied 17 points on a very efficient 7-of-10 shooting including 1-for-1 from three and 2-for-4 from the line. Mitchell also had three rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and a steal. CNU All-American Tia Perry added 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Perry was 4-for-15 from the floor and 4-for-5 from the stripe. Brandi Holland was the third Captain in double figures with 13 points. Hobbs led CNU on the glass as she pulled in nine caroms, including five on the offensive side, while she also had four points.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 38.8% from the floor and 50% (9-for-18) from three. York's nine three-pointers were a new season high as York has converted 17-of-37 (47.7%) from distance in their last two contests. The Spartans were also fantastic from the free throw line, converting 14-of-15 in the win.
CNU shot 37.5% from the floor including 4-of-18 (22.2%) from three. The Captains struggled from the free throw line, converting just 64.7% (11-of-17) for the game.
The Captains entered the game as the top-scoring offense in the CAC as they had been averaging 85.1 points per game. York held the Captains to just over 22 points below their average. Conversely, the Captains scored 14 points higher than the Spartans' seasonal defensive average of 47.3. CNU's 63 points were the most allowed by the Spartans this year.
The Spartans committed 16 turnovers in the game, leading to 20 CNU points, 16 of which occurred in the second half. The Captains had 15 turnovers in the game, which led to 17 York points. York out-rebounded the Captains 47-39, as the Spartans had a 15-10 edge in second chance points.
The Spartans are now off until Sunday, December 29 when they face a second straight nationally ranked team in Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the opening round of the Oglethorpe University Country Inn & Suites Holiday Classic in Atlanta, Georgia. Tip time against the Pointers is set for 6:00 pm.