February 22, 2014

Seniors Close out Regular Season in Style as Spartans Win Regular Season Title

YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball program celebrated their most successful senior class in school history with an impressive 75-39 win over Southern Virginia on Saturday afternoon in the regular season finale for both squads.

The Spartans head to the post season with a record of 23-2 while the Knights conclude their campaign with a mark of 3-22. The 23-2 regular season mark is the second best in school history and extends the senior class's school record for victories to 83.

York is ranked 12th in the nation according to d3hoops.com and 15th in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll.

In addition to the Spartans' win, Marymount downed Christopher Newport 74-60, allowing the Spartans to capture the outright regular season title and the top seed in next week's Capital Athletic Conference Tournament.

After a stirring Senior Day ceremony honoring Kristen Haley (Silver Springs, Md./Georgetown Visitation), Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic), Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), and Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough), the Spartans got off to a sluggish start in the non-conference game.

The Knights led 10-9 just under five minutes into the game but the Green and White ripped off six straight points to take a five point lead. The Knights cut the Spartan lead to 15-14 and that's when the Spartans came to life. York ripped off a 14-0 spurt keyed by threes from Jess Selby (Upper Marlboro, Md./Calverton School) and Murphy as the Spartans were off and running.

Southern Virginia cut the Spartan lead to 10 with five straight points but York outscored their guests 13-6 the rest of the half as YCP took a 42-25 lead to the break.

Any doubt about the outcome of the game was quickly removed as York held Southern Virginia to one point over the first ten minutes of the second half. While the Spartan defense was clicking, the offense methodically putting the game away. The Spartans tallied 24 points during the run as York opened up a 66-26 lead.

York built the lead to as many as 43 before settling for the 36-point win. It is the sixth 30-plus point victory of the year.

With 4:39 left in the game, Spartan head coach Betsy Witman pulled her four seniors to a thunderous standing ovation from the Spartan faithful. It completed a day that couldn't have gone much better for the Green and White.

York was led by Hicks as she tallied her 39th career double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes of work. She was 7-for-14 from the floor and 2-for-5 from the line. Selby was also in double figures as she notched 15 points with a career-high four steals. Selby was 6-for-11 from the field including 3-for-5 from three. Murphy was the third Spartan in double figures with 10 points in her 28 minutes of action. Wallpher played one of her best games of the year as the point guard dished out 12 assists and had just one turnover in her 26 minutes of play. Wallpher also had eight points, three rebounds, two steals, and a blocked shot. Haley contributed seven points, nine rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal.

Crystal Cleveland and Melynda Boren led the Knights with nine points each. Cleveland pulled in a game-high 14 rebounds while she also had three blocked shots in the loss. Cleveland was 1-for-7 from the floor and 7-for-10 from the line. Boren was 4-for-14 from the floor while she also had nine rebounds.

The Spartans held the Knights to 23.1% shooting from the floor including 1-of-12 from three. It is the 12th time this season that the Spartans held a team to below 30% shooting from the floor. Southern Virginia was a solid 14-for-19 (73.7%) from the free throw line.

York finished the game shooting 42.5% from the field while they converted 7-of-22 (31.8%) from distance. The Spartans had their worst free throw shooting percentage of the year as they went just 6-for-16 (37.5%). The six free throws made ties their season worst.

The Spartans were fantastic on the defensive end as they forced 19 turnovers, which they turned into 24 points. Conversely, the Green and White had a season-low eight turnovers.

York must now wait until Thursday to get back on the floor as they will host the winner of the Marymount/Mary Washington first round game. That first round game will be contested on Tuesday night in Arlington, VA. The semifinal game on Thursday in York will tip off at 7:00 pm.

York Senior Photo courtesy of Taylor Gamber