NESCAC sweeps through Sweet 16

Scranton couldn't slow down Bowdoin's Kate Kerrigan, who rang up 16 points and 13 rebounds on Friday night.
Photo by Tim Dougherty

The NESCAC put its stamp on the round of 16 with three dominant performances by Amherst, Bowdoin and Tufts and East Texas Baptist continued its cinderella story in NCAA Tournament sectional semifinals on Friday night.

East Texas Baptist, which had to win the ASC tournament two weeks ago just to make the NCAA Tournament, fought off St. Thomas 61-58 in overtime to advance to the round of eight. East Texas Baptist held a 58-55 lead with under a minute to play in overtime when Kaylie Brazile hit a rare three-pointer for St. Thomas to tie the game. The Tommies shot 6-for-23 from behind the arc overall. The Tigers called timeout, ran the clock down and got a baseline runner from Baylie Lindsey that was off the mark, but Erin Meeks grabbed the offensive rebound and got fouled. Meeks made one of two free throws to give East Texas Baptist a 59-58 lead with five seconds to play. The Tommies called time out to advance the ball but turned it over on the inbounds play. East Texas Baptist made two more free throws to seal the victory.

East Texas Baptist (25-6) did not have a player score double figures but its reserves outscored St. Thomas' reserves 34-7. Hannah Spaulding posted a double-double (28 points, 11 rebounds) for the Tommies (27-3).

The Tigers will face an even bigger test on Saturday night when they take on sectional host Wartburg. The undefeated Knights rolled over Trine 78-54 on the strenght of 9-for-14 shooting from three, including four triples from Kristie Sommer. Wartburg (30-0) surged through Trine's tough defense for a 45-24 halftime lead and never looked back. The Knights got 31 points from their reserves, led by Adrienne Boettger who had 13.

Tufts put on a defensive clinic and held Messiah to its lowest offensive output of the season in a 70-39 route at Scranton. Tufts held Messiah without a field goal for an 11-minute stretch spanning the end of the second quarter through most of the third quarter. The Jumbos finished the game with more steals (15) then the Falcons had made field goals (nine). Jac Knapp scored a season-high 23 points for Tufts (26-4) which advances to the sectional finals for the fifth consecutive season.

Recap continues below video

Bowdoin ripped off 18 straight points in the second half and held Scranton at bay the rest of the way for a 66-54 win . After Bridgette Mann's layup put the Lady Royals ahead 22-20, Sam Roy started a scoring avalanche for the Polar Bears with a three. Kate Kerrigan followed with back-to-back threes and then added a three-point play to put Bowdoin ahead 38-22 with 1:17 left. Scranton rallied with eight with 6:45 to play in the fourth quarter and the Scranton fans ready to errupt. On Scranton's next possession, Bowdoin point guard Taylor Choate stole the ball from Mann and darted down the floor to push the lead back to 10. Scranton head coach Trevor Woodruff said after the game, "That made the lead 10 but if felt like 12 or 15."

Bowdoin (27-2) got double-doubles from Kerrigan (16 points, 13 rebounds) and Abby Kelly (15 points, 10 rebounds) and outrebounded the Lady Royals 46-32. Bowdoin will play Tufts in a rematch between the teams that split their first two meetings with the Polar Bears winning in the regular season and the Jumbos in the NESCAC tournament.

Recap continues below video

Amherst was its normal stingy self, holding Montclair State to 11 first-half points and eventually defeating the Red Hawks 51-40. Neither team shot the ball well, but the Mammoths put up 18 extra shots thanks to 18 Montclair turnovers. Hannah Fox led three Amherst players in double-figures with 16 points and Emma McCarthy chipped in eight points and 15 rebounds.

The battle of Rochester went to the University of when the Yellowjackets defeated RochesterTech 59-55 in Amherst, Mass. After Rochester Tech jumped out to a 22-15 lead, Rochester answered with a 15-4 second quarter to pull ahead at the half. The Tigers fought back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter and got within one, 56-55, on Brooke Stanley's layup with 1:14 left. Rochester missed a layup on its next possession but Rochester Tech gave the ball back to the Yellowjackets who got two free throws from Lauren Deming, extending their lead to three. Rochester Tech missed a three on its next possession and Alexandra Leslie added a free throw to set the game at its final margin.

Playing its first close game since November, Thomas More held off Gustavus Adolphus 75-67 and moved into the sectional semifinals in Michigan. The Saints, whose last game with a single-digit margin of victory was December 5 against NAIA Pikeville, appeared on their way to another lopsided win when they entered the final period up 57-44. The Gusties used an 8-0 run, capped by Mikayla Miller's layup, to pull with 61-59 with five minutes left. Thomas More responded with layups by Shelby Rupp, Madison Temple and Nikki Kiernan on consecutive possessions and the Saints led by two possessions the rest of the way. Temple finished with 25 points and seven steals for Thomas More which shot 25 for 33 from the foul line.

The Saints' victory earns them a rematch against the team that eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament last year. Hope came from behind to beat Christopher Newport 68-64 and avenge its loss to the Captains in last year's sectional semifinal. Christopher Newport built an 11-point halftime lead on the road at DeVos Arena and maintained a seven-point advantage midway through the third quarter after a Makeda Wright three-point play. The Flying Dutch responded by scoring the next eight points and taking a 51-50 lead into the fourth quarter. In the final period the teams battled back and forth until All-American Francesca Buchanan made a jumper that put Hope ahead 66-64 with 53 seconds left. The Captains missed a three on their next possession and Hope freshman Kenedy Schoonveld grabbed the rebound, got fouled and made both free throws. 

Buchanan finished with 16 points and six rebounds in just 19 minutes for Hope (29-1). Makenzie Fancher tallied 16 points and five assists for CNU (25-5).