St. John Fisher To Play For Empire 8 Title After Downing Houghton in the Semis

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PITTSFORD, N.Y. – The St. John Fisher College women's basketball team matched its longest winning streak since 2005 as the top-seeded Cardinals cruised past fourth-seeded Houghton College, 62-46, on Friday in the semifinal round of the Empire 8 Championship inside Manning and Napier Varsity Gymnasium on Bobby Wanzer Court.  With the win, which has now posted 14 consecutive victories and 18 in its last 19 games overall, improved to 21-5 and advanced to Saturday's title game while the Highlanders saw their season end with a 13-13 overall mark.

Fisher will vie for the conference crown at 4 p.m. on Saturday when it hosts third-seeded Stevens Institute of Technology, which earned its spot in the finale by virtue of a 64-62 win over The Sage Colleges earlier in the night.  

Caroline Robertson led the way with a game-high 21 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists while fellow senior Nicole Robinson added 15 points, eight boards and three blocked shots.  Erin Hulbert finished with six points, five rebounds and three steals while Liga Astra Kalnina contributed six points and five rebounds in the win.  Chelsea Repard added five points and Olivia Baumann chipped in with four points in all.

It was a back-and-forth affair from the get-go as the Cardinals and Highlanders swapped baskets over the first seven minutes.  As the quarter continued, Fisher began to find its groove on both ends of the court as the Cardinals forced a pair of Houghton turnovers and bridged the first and second periods with an 8-0 run to build a 10-point edge, 17-7.  Houghton halted the Cardinals' momentum with a jumper in the corner, but Robertson kicked it out to Hulbert for a 3-pointer on the wing to begin a streak of nine unanswered points to make it 26-9 in Fisher's favor.

Trailing by 17, Houghton would cut the deficit to 15 on its next trip down the floor and outscored Fisher over the final 3:35 of play to head into intermission facing an uphill climb, 33-17.

Fisher's pace quickened to start the third quarter as a pair of free throws from Masna ignited a 16-2 run by the Cardinals highlighted by eight points from Robertson to stretch the lead to 30, 49-19. 

As the game wore on, however, Fisher's lead would begin to dwindle as the Highlanders outscored the Cardinals 21-7 over an 8:37 span to pull to within 16, 56-40.  After a layup from Kalnina pushed Fisher's edge back to 18, the Highlanders buried a 3-pointer to make it a 15-point contest, but that was as close as they would come as the Cardinals cruised to a double-digit win, 62-46.

As a team, Fisher 22-of-51 (.431) from the floor and converted 15-of-22 from the free throw stripe.  The Cardinals forced Houghton into 15 turnovers.