Saturday women: Salisbury, UT-D avoid the pool

The Comets of Texas-Dallas streaked past their Lone Star State rivals and into the NCAA tournament.
Texas-Dallas athletics photo

Salisbury came from behind to force overtime twice and eventually triumphed over Mary Washington 74-68, one of a handful of games on Saturday where a regionally ranked team won a conference final, meaning other teams hoping for an at-large bid have a better shot.

Those who are waiting for second life through Pool C, the at-large pool, will find out Monday what their postseason fate will be. The NCAA's Division III women's basketball selection show airs at 2:30 p.m. ET and we'll have the link to the stream right here on

Others are like Texas-Dallas, which might have been on the bubble but avoided it with a win in the ASC final vs. Texas-Tyler. Madi Hess scored a team-high 18 points and Amber Brown added 17 as the Comets shot 52 percent from the floor and 9-for-19 from 3-point range. The win snapped Tyler's 21-game winning streak. Tyler, the top-ranked team in the NCAA's last South Region rankings, will make the field as an at-large.

In the CAC championship Mary Washington led Salisbury 57-54 with under 30 seconds left in regulation when Salisbury forward Melanie Mocniak was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. She made all three free throws and then blocked the Eagles' potential game-winning shot to force overtime.

The Eagles again held a two-point lead late in the first overtime before Kathy Albornoz's layup tied the game again and forced a second extra period. The Sea Gulls scored the last nine points of the second overtime to win the CAC title. Salisbury was going to the NCAA Tournament regardless of that result, but the Sea Gulls' win preserves an at-large bid for someone else.

Greensboro did the opposite by beating Maryville 69-66 in the USA South Athletic Conference final, knocking the Scots into the at-large pool. Syerra Troutman's layup gave the Pride a two-point lead with 58 seconds left. On its next possession Maryville missed two field goals and two free throws to tie the game. Greensboro pushed the lead to three with one more free throw and survived a last-ditch three attempt. Maryville should be in good shape to get an at-large bid.

Montclair State changed its defensive strategy after a loss and a narrow win over Stockton in the regular season. The switch paid off in a 59-42 victory for the Red Hawks. Sarah Sommer has the story from the NJAC title game.

FDU-Florham avenged its only loss of the season by beating Eastern 76-66 in the Freedom Conference championship. The Eagles had 23 turnovers, including 14 steals by the Devils who pulled away from Eastern midway through the second half.

Mount St. Vincent overwhelmed Skyline top seed Farmingdale State 76-50 to capture its first bid to the NCAA tournament. The Dolphins built a 28-point lead early in the second half and led by as many as 37. Kelly Fraser, who had 23 points and 17 rebounds, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Cabrini defeated Immaculata 68-53 to become the first women's program in the CSAC to win three consecutive titles. The Cavaliers dominated the Mighty Macs down low, outrebounding them by 24 and outscoring them in the paint by 20.

Great Lakes: Saints, Knights stay perfect...

Abby Springer and Calvin got the better of Hope one more time in the MIAA tournament championship game.
Photo by Eric Kelley,

Thomas More and Calvin each defeated their top conference foes for a third time this season to finish perfect runs to the NCAA tournament.

For the third time in the last five seasons, Thomas More will enter the NCAA tournament with a perfect record. Sydney Moss scored 28 points and the Saints defeated St. Vincent 75-65 for their ninth consecutive PAC champions. Thomas More also guaranteed that it will stay in front of Calvin in the final regional rankings.

Calvin has done everything it could to make its case to host all the way through the Final Four, which will be played at Van Noord Arena. Calvin held off archrival Hope 77-73 as Breanna Verkaik scored 21 points, including the 1,000th of her career. The Flying Dutch outrebounded Calvin and shot a higher percentage from the floor, but had 24 turnovers.

Capital swept through the OAC tournament as the fourth seed last year, but this year the Crusaders fell one game short. Baldwin Wallace beat Capital 50-46 in the OAC championship game and claimed the conference's automatic qualifying bid. The Yellow Jackets won despite not making a field goal in the final seven-plus minutes of the game.

Danasha Harris flirted with an odd triple-double and La Roche took care of Pitt-Greensburg 73-55 in the AMCC title game. Harris had seven points, 10 steals and seven rebounds. McKenzie O'Donnell led the Redhawks with 24 points.

With NCAC favorite DePauw already eliminated, Wittenberg defeated Ohio Wesleyan 81-57 to grab the conference's automatic qualifying bid. Darbie Zirkle poured in 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting with five threes and a perfect night from the free throw line for the Tigers. Wittenberg will make its ninth appearance in the NCAA tournament and its first since 2004.

West: ...and so do the Bruins and Tommies

St. Thomas dominated Bethel on the glass and topped the Royals on the scoreboard, 65-51. The Tommies outrebounded Bethel 52-27, led by Maggie Weier's career-high 19 rebounds. The Tommies have won the last five MIAC conference tournaments.

George Fox beat Puget Sound 66-61 and completed its third perfect run to the NCAA tournament. The previous two times the Bruins entered the NCAA tournament without a loss, they reached the national championship game. Tonight the Bruins and Loggers staged a free throw shooting contest in the second half, with George Fox making 16-of-21 and Puget Sound making 15-of-18.

Luther beat Wartburg 61-53, ending the Knights improbably run through the IIAC tournament. Fifth-seeded Wartburg won on the road at Loras and top-seeded Dubuque earlier this week, but couldn't overcome its 23 turnovers and 19 points from Luther's Meagan Kopenick on Saturday.

Minnesota-Morris defeated Northwestern (Minn.) 63-54 in overtime, as the Cougars held the Eagles scoreless for most of the extra period. Emily Auch posted 21 points, 12 rebounds and six steals for Minnesota-Morris.

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps got 24 points from its starting back court and defeated Cal Lutheran 60-43 for the SCIAC tournament title. Kimberly Scamman scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Athenas.

Stevenson is headed to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

Mid Atlantic: Road warriors break bubbles

After getting beat at Scranton by 37 points last Satuday, Catholic returned to the John J. Long Center and edged the Lady Royals 52-51. The Cardinals used a 10-point run to flip a five-point deficit into a five-point lead they would not relinquish. Catholic outrebounded Scranton 43-29.

Muhlenberg held McDaniel to one field goal in the final two minutes and made enough free throws to beat the Green Terror 68-64 in the Centennial Conference final. The Mules shot 56 percent from the floor and turned the ball over just four times. McDaniel had one turnover but shot 34 percent from the field.

Scranton and McDaniel should both get at-large bids with the Royals likely coming off the board first in the Mid Atlantic region. That leaves less bids for bubble teams, like Albright. Stevenson held the Lions without a field goal for a five minute stretch, and that was enough for the Mustangs to pull out a 54-50 victory. Stevenson will go to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever, including when the school was known as Villa Julie.

Kristen Schulz grabs a piece of the net after Wisconsin Lutheran dominated the NACC title game.
Photo by Steve Frommell,

Central: 27th heaven for Wash U.

Washington U. defeated Chicago 63-56 in the UAA's de facto championship game and added another year to its long string of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. The Bears got 14 points from three different players and swept the season series from Chicago, giving them the UAA's automatic bid. Washington U. will make its 27th trip to the NCAA tournament and its 26th in a row, the longest streak in Division III basketball.

Spalding hasn't been to the NCAA tournament as many times, but they were similarly dominant in the SLIAC title game. The Eagles built a 21-point halftime lead and rolled over Eureka 80-50. Kayla Styles led Spalding with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Wisconsin Lutheran eased past Benedictine 71-51 for another NACC crown. Kristen Schulz had 27 points and 16 rebounds for the Warriors who held the Benedictine starters to 12 points total. Maggie Gartner added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Wisconsin Lutheran.

Wheaton (Ill.) overcame a nine-point halftime deficit against North Central (Ill.) and beat the Cardinals 92-80 for the CCIW's automatic bid. North Central hung tough despite shooting just 9-for-45 from three. Hannah Considine rolled up 33 points and 16 rebounds for the Thunder.

St. Norbert is headed to the NCAA tournament for the 12th time after surging past Cornell 72-51 in the MWC championship game. The Green Knights outscored the Rams by 20 in the second half and shot 47 percent from the field, including seven 3-pointers.

St. John Fisher Coach Marianne O'Connor-Ermi had good reason to embrace Mary Kate Cusack on Saturday.
St. John Fisher athletics photo

East: Cusack drops 41 points, Bombers

Mary Kate Cusack scored 41 points to lead St. John Fisher past Ithaca 86-84 in overtime at the Empire 8 championship. Cusack hit eight 3-pointers including the game-tying shot with 2 minutes left. After Cusack hit that shot, the Cardinals held Ithaca scoreless for a five minute stretch spanning the end of regulation and overtime. St. John Fisher will make its 15th trip to the NCAA tournament, but its first since 2006.

For the ninth time in a row, the top seed in the Liberty League playoffs was denied the automatic qualifying bid in the NCAA tournament and for the first time the AQ will go to Skidmore. The Thoroughbreds outlasted St. Lawrence 67-62 in double overtime. Molly McLaughlin scored 20 points in a full 50 minutes for Skidmore.

Geneseo State led Cortland State wire-to-wire as the Blue Knights slayed the Red Dragons 61-54 in the SUNYAC title. Shannon McGinnis had 14 points and 14 rebounds for Geneseo.

Northeast: Whitehead leads Wildcats to title

Johnson and Wales captured its first GNAC title with a 74-66 come-from-behind win at Emmanuel. Bobbie Whitehead scored 26 points for the Wildcats, including 11 points in the final 81 seconds, despite playing only 19 minutes because of foul trouble.

Bridgewater State topped Westfield State 60-57 in the MASCAC title game, knocking the Owls into the at-large pool. After Westfield State claimed the lead on two made free throws with a minute left, Rachel Kusz's three-pointer gave the Bears the lead for good.

A handful of regionally ranked teams secured return trips to the NCAA tournament. Five players scored double figures for the University of New England and the Nor'easters bested Curry 81-72 in the CCC final. Regis topped Southern Vermont 69-56 for its third consecutive NECC championship. Castleton State grinded out a 45-40 win over New England College for the NAC title.