2010 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championship Tournament First Round
Friday, March 5th
Johnston Hall, Bethlehem, PA
Utica (NY) College 64, Moravian College 61
BETHLEHEM, PA --- The eighth-ranked Moravian College women’s basketball team lost a double-digit lead for the first time this season as the Greyhounds fell to Utica College, 64-61, after leading 48-33 with 13:24 to play in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Johnston Hall Friday evening.
The victory moves the Pioneers into the second round where they’ll face Gettysburg College Saturday, March 6th at 7:00 p.m. after the Bullets defeated Farmingdale State College, 68-57, in the opening game of the night.
For Moravian, the loss snaps a 20-game winning streak, which was the third longest in school history, and the Greyhounds end the season at 25-3 after falling at home in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Moravian’s senior class finishes its career with an 81-31 record, two NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2007 ECAC South Championships. The six seniors scored 5,233 points and grabbed 2,220 rebounds over the last four seasons for the Greyhounds.
Junior forward Jessica Berry led Utica and all scorers with 22 points, and she added 13 rebounds and six steals for the Pioneers. Freshman center Meghan Fiore added 13 points and eight boards off the Utica bench while junior guard Devon Croll contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Moravian had its usual balanced scoring attack with four players in double figures. Senior guard Kate Harrison finished a team high 14 points and nine rebounds to close her career 14th in school history with 1,134 points and 15th in rebounds with 513. Harrison also blocked four shots in the game. Senior forward Kirsty Stearns contributed 13 points and nine rebounds to finish her career 15th in scoring at 1,114 points and 8th in rebounds with 651 while senior guard Jessica Foran tossed in ten points with five rebounds and three assists to finish her career 17th in scoring at 1,098 points. Senior guard Amanda Brown had ten points for the Greyhounds, and she hit a pair of three-pointers to close out her career third in school history with 192 made three-pointers.
Harrison and Foran scored on Moravian’s first two possessions for a 4-0 lead before Fiore tied the contest at 4-4 at the 17:41 mark. The game was tied at 8-8 after two free throws from Pioneer senior forward Jessica Snyder at 14:03 before the Greyhounds took the lead for the next 30 minutes on a jumper from Stearns at 13:51.
Senior forward Alyssa Bisci hit a jumper to give the Greyhounds a 17-12 lead with 8:49 left in the first half, and Moravian eventually stretched the lead to double figures, 25-14, on a Harrison lay-up at 6:24. Utica closed the gap at halftime with Croll hitting a jumper at the buzzer to pull the Pioneers within six points, 31-25, at the intermission.
The Greyhounds hit 13-of-32 field goal attempts (40.6 percent), one-of-seven three-pointers and all four of their free throws in the opening half. Both squads had eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes while Utica had a 23-21 edge in rebounds including an 8-4 edge on offensive boards. The Pioneers was just ten-for-33 from the field (30.3 percent) and five-of-ten at the foul line in the first half, and Utica missed both of its three-point attempts.
The teams traded baskets to start the second half with Moravian eventually pushing the lead back into double digits, 42-31, on a three-pointer by Brown with 15:05 to play. The Greyhounds would push that lead to 15 points, 46-31, on a jumper from junior guard/forward Emily Smith at 13:50, and Moravian had a 48-33 edge after a Brown jumper with 13:24 on the clock.
From that point, Utica out-scored the Greyhounds 31-13 the remainder of the game. The Pioneers would push the lead back to single digits, 52-44 on a lay-up from Snyder with 9:33 remaining; however, Moravian still had a seven-point lead, 55-48, after a free throw from sophomore guard Hilary Murray with 6:00 left.
Croll hit a three-pointer at 5:18 to pull Utica within two points before Harrison hit a lay-up at 4:27 to give Moravian a 57-53 edge. Freshman guard Danielle Busansky hit her second three-pointer of the half with 3:34 to go, putting the Pioneers ahead for the first time in the game, 58-57. Stearns hit a pair of free throws at 3:10 to put Moravian back on top, but Berry answered with a lay-up at 3:00 for a 60-59 Pioneer lead. Foran drove to the basket for a lay-up that put Moravian back in front, 61-60, with 2:48 remaining but that would be Moravian last points of the season. Berry put Utica ahead, 62-61, with a jumper at 2:37 before sophomore guard Katie McGee scored the final points of the game for the Pioneers at the foul line with 10.2 seconds remaining.
Utica had a hot hand in the second half, connecting on 16-of-32 field goal attempts (50 percent), three-of-four three-pointers and four-of-seven free throws. The Pioneers also had a 45-38 edge in rebounds while both teams committed 19 turnovers in the game. Moravian struggled shooting the ball, making just 11-of-29 field goal attempts (37.9 percent), two-of-five three-pointers and six-of-11 free throws in the second half. The Greyhounds entered the game as the top free throw shooting team in the nation at 77.3 percent but made just 66.7 percent (ten-of-15) attempts in the game.
Bisci had seven points and three rebounds for Moravian to close out her career with 959 points and 478 rebounds while junior forward Amy Heffner tossed in four points and grabbed four boards. Smith had two points for the Greyhounds while Murray scored a point. Sophomore forward Alexandra Blair was held scoreless for Moravian, but she added two rebounds and a career high nine blocked shots to finish the season with a school record 78 blocked shots.
Busansky finished with six points for Utica while McGee had four points, three rebounds and three assists. Sophomore guard Justine Karst added four points and three rebounds while Snyder contributed four points. Junior guard Stephanie Nara has six rebounds and four assists for the Pioneers.