HOBOKEN, NJ – Ithaca College out-scored Hartwick 20-11 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 63-55 win over the Hawks in the Empire 8 Conference semifinals at Stevens Institute of Technology's Canavan Arena on Friday night. The Hawks' season comes to a close with a record of 17-9. The Bombers advance to tomorrow's championship game against the top-seeded Ducks, who won 62-58 over fourth-seeded St. John Fisher in the first semifinal.
All-conference seniors Emily Stone (Granby, CT/Granby) and Jacqui Foreman (Tolland, CT/Tolland) were the stars for the Hawks in their final game in a Hartwick uniform. Stone tied for a game-high with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. She also had three assists, and two steals. Foreman added 18 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to mark her 10th double-double of the season.
A low-scoring opening five and a half minutes to start the game saw the Bombers hold a 6-3 lead. The Hawks would then seize control of the game, embarking on a 13-0 run to take a 16-6 advantage with under a minute left in the quarter. Stone and Foreman accounted for all 13 of the Hawks' points in the run and they finished the quarter up 16-9.
The Bombers opened the second quarter with four straight baskets to make it a 17-16 edge before Carly Johnson (Greenville, NY/Greenville Central) hit a three to put 'Wick back on top. The score would be tied three more times in the next minute and a half before Johnson converted a go-ahead layup. Stone added another with under three minutes left in the half. Ithaca got within a point but a Stone basket to close the half handed the Hawks a 31-28 advantage.
Stone would end the half with 15 points to lead all scorers. Foreman added nine and Johnson had five. Courtney Cirillo (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) grabbed six rebounds for 'Wick. The Hawks shot 44% in the first half but committed 12 turnovers, six in each quarter.
Hartwick opened the third with two free throws from Cirillo for a five-point lead. The Hawks would then commit a pair of turnovers and the Bombers used a 6-0 run to take a 36-35 lead. Four lead changes would ensue before a Stone driving layup and a three-point play from Foreman put 'Wick up 41-38 with 3:41 remaining. IC evened the score with under 30 ticks left, but a Caitlin Corbett (Altamont, NY/Guilderland) free throw with 9.4 to go pushed the Hawks ahead 44-43 heading into the final quarter.
After a Foreman bucket to start the fourth, Ithaca used a 9-0 spurt to go up six, 52-46, after three and a half minutes. Two more baskets with under five minutes to go increased the Hawks' deficit to 56-48. Foreman answered for the Hawks but Ithaca's Erin Ferguson netted her fourth basket of the quarter and later converted two from the line for a 60-50 IC lead.
Hartwick would go 0-for-4 from the free-throw line with just over a minute remaining to keep the margin at 10. Anna Hickey (Falmouth, ME/Falmouth) connected on a three with 26.1 left but it would be as close as the Hawks would get as IC converted an and-one to put the game away.
Courtney Cirillo (Johnstown, NY/Johnstown) finished her final game with four points and six boards. Anna Hickey (Falmouth, ME/Falmouth) had the three late in the fourth, and Sarah Shaw (Franklin, MA/Franklin) chipped in two blocked shots, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal.
Hartwick falls to Ithaca in the conference playoffs for the fourth time. The Hawks were also defeated by the Bombers in the 2005 semifinals and the 2012 and 2013 championship games.
Tonight the Hawks shot 45% from the floor and held a 35-34 edge on the glass. They would also commit 25 turnovers in the contest.
Johnson, who finished the night with five points, tied the Hartwick single-season record with 55 with her first-half trey. Ferguson led Ithaca with 21 points. Ali Ricchiuti added 15 and Julie Yacovoni scored 12.
The Hawks finish the campaign 17-9, with a regional ranking of eight, and with their fourth conference playoff appearance in six years.