GOING DANCING! Skidmore defeats RIT to win Liberty League title

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. –A dominant defensive display by the Skidmore College women's basketball team was the difference as the Thoroughbreds won the Liberty League title after a 65-42 victory over RIT, in the 2018 Liberty League Championship game held at the Williamson Sports Center Sunday afternoon.

Skidmore (18-9) wins its sixth straight game to lift the trophy, its second Liberty League title, joining the 2014-15 squad. The Thoroughbreds earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, and will await seeding and opponent on Monday at 2:30 p.m. RIT falls to 21-6 on the season and will await a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Thoroughbreds had one of its best defensive performances of the season Saturday afternoon, holding the Tigers to a season-low 24.6 percent shooting from the field and 42 points. Skidmore tallied 10 steals and seven blocked shots, forced 17 RIT turnovers, and won the rebounding battle by a 47-29 margin.

"Today's game was something you talk about with your team, something you dream about and set goals to achieve," said head coach Darren Bennett. "To play the championship game at home for most is rare and to win it all in front of your home crowd, family, friends, community members...it was awesome."
Senior guard Veronica Moceri earned Liberty League All-Tournament MVP honors, leading the Thoroughbreds with 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field, adding five rebounds and four assists. Senior forward Kelly Donnelly added 13 points and 13 rebounds for her 12th double double of the season. Fellow senior forward Caite Opfer was tremendous defensively, blocking five shots and grabbing a season-high 12 boards. Both Opfer and Donnelly were named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts. Senior guard Ari Fustini chipped in 15 points, going 4-for-7 from deep, and junior guard Haley English added eight points and five steals.
All-Tournament team member Jessica Glaz led RIT with 13 points and three steals. Brooke Stanley came off the bench and chipped in 11 points in just seven minutes on 4-for-5 shooting from the field.

"I'm so happy for our kids and extremely proud of them," said Bennett. "We had a long season with a tough start that included a three-game stretch of loses in conference play that could have knocked a lot of teams off balance, but our ten leaders and captains stood steady and righted the ship. They did great things with and for their teammates and today they enjoyed their industrious habits and will to succeed."
RIT grabbed an early 6-4 lead late in the first quarter, but Skidmore led for good, with a 3-pointer on the next possession by Moceri with 59 seconds to go. Donnelly would add a jumper from the free throw line on a coast-to-coast play to beat the first quarter buzzer, as the Thoroughbreds took a 9-6 lead.
Skidmore would increase its advantage to 10 with a 6-0 run to begin the second quarter. The Tigers would chip the deficit to five (18-13) after an Abby Judd fast break bucket, but Skidmore would end the run thanks to an and-one bucket by Donnelly at the 2:48 mark.  The lead would grow to 11, before Glaz added a jumper with 45 seconds left, as Skidmore led RIT 27-18 at halftime.
Skidmore would outscore RIT 38-24 in the second half, pulling away from the defending champs. The Thoroughbreds began the quarter with a 9-0 run, capped by a pair of Donnelly jumpers, giving Skidmore a 36-18 lead. The Tigers would reduce the deficit to as few as 17 points after an 8-3 spurt, but Donnelly once again beat the buzzer, ending the third quarter with a jumper to give the Thoroughbreds a 47-28 lead after three.

The Thoroughbreds would close out the game making 10-of-13 shots from the free throw line in the fourth, as RIT could get no closer than 16 points.

"We will enjoy the championship flavor for a long time and begin to prepare our minds tomorrow for what lies ahead in the NCAA Tournament," said Bennett. "Our seniors were there three years ago when we made our first NCAA tournament appearance as a program and they are excited to get back and see what they can do. We are playing strong basketball on both ends but do need to clean up some things for the week to have our best showing and we will do that."
Follow along with skidmoreathletics.com as Skidmore's first round NCAA Tournament opponent is revealed on Monday at 2:30 p.m. Fans can also follow the selection show here: https://www.ncaa.com/sports/basketball-women/d3
2018 Liberty League All-Tournament Team
MVP – Veronica Moceri – Skidmore
Caite Opfer – Skidmore
Kelly Donnelly – Skidmore

Jessica Glaz – RIT
Julie Yacovoni – Ithaca
Ariella Rosenthal – Vassar