ITHACA TOPS SAGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM IN NCAA FIRST ROUND, 67-30
Ithaca, NY – The Sage College's women's basketball team travelled to Ithaca College for the 2014 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament facing the Bombers of Ithaca College in Ben Light Gym. The appearance in the tournament was the first in Sage's women's basketball history, while the Bombers were making the team's 11th appearance. Ithaca posted the win besting Sage, 67-30 to advance.
"I am so proud of my players and the effort they put forward tonight and all season," noted Sage head coach Jackie Craft. "It's hard to put into words what this team has accomplished and the level they have brought women's basketball to here at Sage. It's just hard to get past tonight's loss, but the future for this team and the program is very bright. To think that we won just eight games last season and to know how very far we came is just a huge process for us."
At the half the Gators were tied with Ithaca 21-21 after freshman guard Frankie Pearson (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central) hit a shot at 0:47 to tie the score. IC's next trip down the floor resulted in a turnover and a last second shot by junior guard Lea McClain (Schenectady, NY/Mohonasen) was off the mark that could have given the Gators a lead.
Sage was paced in the first half by the play of Pearson with eight points, while junior center Amie Jefferson (Albany, NY/Colonie Central) added eight first half rebounds with a block. Sage held Ithaca to 25.0% shooting (8-32), while allowing just 22.2% from three-point range (2-9).
Ithaca's Elisabeth Wentlent led the Bombers in the first stanza with six points off the bench with five rebounds.
The Bombers opened the second half on an 8-2 run and held a 31-25 lead with 15:07 left to play. Ithaca continued to make the most of each trip down the floor and held a 40-25 lead with 11:55 remaining. Pacing the run for the Bombers was Wentlent with a lay-up and a three-pointer in the stretch. Over the course of the second half, Ithaca shot 55.6% (15-27), while hitting 57.1% from three-point range (8-14). Wentlent finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Mary Kate Tierney netted 12 points to lead her squad to the regional finals.
Jenn Escobido had six points with a team-best eight rebounds. Geena Brady added nine points with five boards, while Ally Mnich added eight points.
For the Gators junior guard Megan Bowman (Dannemora, NY/Saranac) finished with 10 points, while Pearson also netted 10 points. Jefferson finished with a game-best 10 boards, including nine defensive caroms. earned Skyline Conference Most Outstanding Player Honors after she finished with a team-high 24 points. She shot 9-18 from the floor and added five rebounds with four assists and three steals.
For the Gators, the lone senior, tri-captain Chelsea Martin (Davenport, NY/Jefferson Central) capped her career in the NCAA tournament. Martin holds the Gator record for most games played (99). She finishes her career with 701 career points with 535 career rebounds. She also had 101 career 3-point baskets and wraps her Sage's record book finishing No. 5 in rebounds, No. 3 in blocks (62), No. 12 in points (701), and No. 3 in three-pointers.