SAGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM WINS SKYLINE CHAMPIONSHIP; GATORS EARNS SECOND NCAA BERTH IN PROGRAMS'S HISTORY
Old Westbury, NY- Seeded third in the 2017 Skyline Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, Sage's women's basketball team captured the league's championship on Saturday afternoon, knocking off top seeded SUNY-Old Westbury in the finals, 72-66. With the win, Sage earned an automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division III Championship and will await news of their placement with the selection show on Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m.
Sage improves to 20-8 and brings a six-game win streak into the NCAA's after exacting revenge over the Panthers, who last year beat Sage in their gym in the 2016 Skyline Championship. Old Westbury drops to 23-4 on the season.
Sage's senior guard Frankie Pearson (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central) was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Tournament after exploding for a career-high 27 points in the finals. Pearson shot 8-18 with an impressive six three-pointers in the contest. She added three steals and six rebounds after hitting a cool 60.0% from three-point range and had 14 points in the first half as Sage led 37-26. Already the all-time three-pointer leader at Sage, she has 197 three-pointers and 1,066 career points and is fourth on all-time scoring list. Pearson also has now played in 107 games at Sage, another all-time mark for a women's performer and will add to those numbers when the Gators return to the court in the NCAA tournament this coming week.
Sage jumped out to a 49- 43 lead to open the fourth quarter before the Panthers roared back into game cutting the Gators' lead to just one point 49-48 with 7:59 left to play. Tori Bellings hit a lay-up with 7:59 left to play in regulation to give OW a 50-49 lead. Davida Warren had a jumper seconds later and had the Panthers up 52-49 before rookie Gessica Patregnani (Troy, NY/Lansingburgh) hit a jumper to cut the OW lead to one point. OW struck again with a jumper by Jasmine Robinson at 6:38 and held a 54-51 lead. Pearson tied the action with a three-pointer at 6:19 before the two teams exchanged buckets. The game would be tied for the fifth time at 1:11 as sophomore guard Emily Parslow (Fonda, NY/Fonda-Fultonville) tallied hit the first of two free throws. She made the second to give Sage a 64-63 lead. Pearson added a bucket before Parslow added two more free throws helping the Sage lead grow to 4 points, 67-63 with 0:27 left to play. Sophomore guard Macie Holmes (Amsterdam, NY/Meekeel Christian Academy) was fouled and made the first of two free throws with 0:20 left to play.
With a three-pointer by Robinson at 0:12 left to play, OW cut the lead to two points, 68-66 before Pearson was fouled and made her free throws, giving Sage a 70-66 lead. Holmes returned the line with 0:06 left to play and made her two shots giving Sage the momentum to seal the 72-66 win on Saturday afternoon.
For the game, Sage got 14 points from Parslow who added a personal-best nine assists with six boards in the contest. Holmes finished with eight points, while Patregnani and sophomore Kaitlyn Bowman (Dannemora, NY/Saranac) added 10 points apiece.
Junior forward Genevieve Schoff (Little Falls, NY/Little Falls) was held to three points in the contest as she got in foul trouble. She stands sixth all-time in scoring at Sage with 1,025 points, just one shy of tying Elizabeth Pearl (1,026 points, 1987-1991).
The Gators have now won 15 or more games in each of the last four seasons, including a program best 21 wins last season. Only in her third season at Sage, head coach Allison Coleman owns an impressive 59-22 record at the helm of the Gator team.
Sage, which won the 2015-2016 Skyline Conference regular-season title and finished as the tournament runner-up, last year was picked first in the league's pre-season coaches' poll. With the 2017 championship to their credit, Sage has now won two Skyline Conference Championships and a runner-up crown having appeared in the championship game in three of the last four straight years.