Defense Extends One Streak and Ends Another for #19 Spartans

FREDERICKSBURG, VA – The York College women's basketball team snapped a ten-game losing streak against the University of Mary Washington, downing the Eagles 53-35 in Capital Athletic Conference play on Saturday in Fredericksburg, VA.

The win extends the Spartans' season-opening win streak to 11 as the Green and White improves to 4-0 in conference play. The Eagles fall to 7-3 overall and 2-2 in the league.

The victory over UMW is the first for York since February 2, 2009 when the Spartans picked up a 59-56 win. It is the first win at Mary Washington since January 7, 2009 when the Spartans notched a 77-72 victory. Both of those wins occurred during York's school-record 25 game win streak en route to a berth in the 2009 Sweet 16.

York got off to a great start in the game as the Spartans jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. The Eagles battled back, cutting the York to one at 15-14 at the 6:53 mark. Senior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) banged home a triple to halt the Mary Washington momentum. The three jump-started an 11-2 Spartan run that pushed the York lead to 26-16 with 2:44 left in the first half. The Eagles scored the final five points of the half as the Green and White took a 26-21 lead to the break.

The Spartans came out the intermission and took the play to their hosts. York ripped off a 13-4 run over the opening 4:49 of the second half to take a 39-25 lead. The run was fueled by a pair of threes from Jess Selby (Upper Marlboro, Md./Calverton) and another triple from Murphy.

The Eagles cut the lead to 11 but York quickly responded with a 6-0 spurt, pushing the lead to 17. The Spartan defense took care of the rest as the Eagles scored just seven points over the final 12 minutes of the game. The Eagles scored just 14 points in the second half.

York's defense was the story of the day. They held the Eagles to just 35 points, their fewest points allowed this season. The Spartans limited the Eagles to 20% shooting from the floor, also a season best mark.

Murphy led the Spartans with 13 points as the senior closes in on the York College career three-point record. Murphy is now just one three pointer from tying former Spartan great Heather Kessler's record of 169 three point field goals. Murphy was 4-for-6 from the floor including 2-for-2 from three and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Fellow senior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) was the other Spartan in double figures as she contributed 10 points and nine rebounds. Selby chipped in with seven points while freshman Sam Hruz (White Marsh, Md./Mercy) continues her solid play with six points, four rebounds, and a career-high four blocked shots in 20 minutes of play.

Senior point guard Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) collected three steals in the win as she broke the Spartans' all-time record. Wallpher passed Paula Rusnock with her second steal of the game. Wallpher now has 337 career thefts for York.

Aby Diop led the Eagles with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Aubrey Howland added seven points, five rebounds, and three steals for the Eagles.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 41.9% from the floor including 5-for-12 (41.7%) from three. York was very good from the free throw line as they drained 12-of-14 (85.7%) from the stripe.

The Eagles shot 20.3% for the game as they went just 13-for-64 from the field including 0-for-15 from three. Mary Washington also struggled at the free throw line going just 9-for-18. The Eagles attempted 21 more shots in the game as they collected 22 offensive rebounds in the loss. UMW shot just 17.6% from the floor in the second half.

Mary Washington outrebounded York 43-39, as it is just the second time this year that York has been outrebounded in a contest. The Spartans also committed 23 turnovers, the fourth time this year they have made 20 or more mistakes.

The 11 wins to start the season ties the school record for the best start to the season.

The Spartans' challenging road slate continues on Wednesday as they travel to defending CAC champion Marymount University. The Saints are the other CAC unbeaten as they head into Wednesday 3-0 in the league after their 59-55 win at St. Mary's this afternoon. Tip time from Arlington is set for 6:00 pm.

Kelsey Murphy photo courtesy of David Sinclair

Audio highlights courtesy of Darrell Henry - the Voice of the Spartans