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UC Women Win Own Tourney vs. SUNYIT

Brian Sandler has the highlights

By Sports WKTV

The Utica College women’s basketball team defeated the SUNYIT Wildcats 72-63 Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the Utica College Tip-Off Classic at the Clark Athletic Center .

Karen Crisanti (Geneva/Geneva) opened up the scoring one minute into the first-half to give the Pioneers a 2-0 lead. The Wildcats tied the game at 2-2 after Jennifer Vergis (Rome Free Academy/Rome) completed both free throws on a Laura Keating (Horseheads/Whitesboro) foul.

The battle between the cross-town rivals quickly turned physical and the defense of both teams was tested throughout the first-half. The Wildcats took a 10-6 lead on an Annmarie Spaulding (Corning C.C./Corning) layup but the Pioneers answered right back with back-to-back layups by Casey Orlando (Haddon Heights/Haddon Heights, NJ) and Jessica Berry (Rome Free Academy/Rome) to tie the game at 10-10.

The scoring continued and Laura Keating’s three-point shot midway through the first half to gave the Pioneers a 19-17 lead. Keating finished the first half with eight points, six of them coming from her two three-point shots. The Pioneers went into the locker room with an eleven point lead, leading the Wildcats 39-28. Mallory Davis (Rockville/Vernon-Rockville, CT) and Jessica Berry also finished with eight points apiece for the Pioneers. Tamara Williams (Rome Free Academy/Rome) led the scoring for the Wildcats of SUNYIT with eight points.

Both teams finished with 25 rebounds. Utica controlled the defensive boards with 16 while the Wildcats grabbed 14 offensive rebounds of their own.

Senior guard Laura Keating started off the Pioneers' second-half scoring on a lay-up followed by a free throw to give the Pioneers a 42-28 lead and their biggest lead of the game (14). Stacey Phelps hit a three-pointer for the Wildcats to cut the deficit down to 11. A lay-up by freshman guard Devon Croll (Vernon-Verona-Sherril/Vernon) once again extended the Pioneer lead to 13. The Pioneers controlled the first ten minutes of the second-half while the Wildcats attempted to decrease the deficit and claw their way back into the game. It wasn't until 9:26 into the period that the Wildcats cut the lead down to five on a 5-0 run by senior guard Annmarie Spaulding. With a 1:32 in the half, the Wildcats sent Utica’s senior guard Dana Danziger (Point Pleasant/Point Pleasant, NJ) to the line to increase the Pioneer lead to six, 66-60.

Wildcat freshman center Tamara Williams answered right back with a lay-up to cut the Pioneer lead down by two. Utica's Mallory Davis continued her scoring after a Wildcat turnover and beautiful outlet pass by teammate Dana Danziger which Davis converted into a fast-break lay-up. With under a minute to play,
Utica 's Dana Danziger was again fouled and sent to the line in which she completed one of her two free-throws. After a Wildcat turnover, Devon Croll scored on an easy lay-up on an uncontested fast-break to increase the Pioneer lead to ten, 72-62. The Wildcats tacked on one more point on a Taylor Topping (Preston/Bronx) free-throw however the Pioneers defense proved to be too much giving them a 72-63 victory over the Wildcats and the Utica College Tip-Off Classic tournament championship trophy.

With the win, the Pioneers extend their win-streak over the Wildcats to six consecutive games over the last six years. Mallory Davis led all Pioneer scoring with 21 points. Laura Keating and Karen Crisanti each had 13 points for the Pioneers. Tamara Williams led the Wildcats with 21 points.

All Tournament Team
Green Mountain – Molly Hopper
Southern Vermont – Julia Fagan
SUNYIT – Jen Vergas
SUNYIT – Annmarie Spalding
Utica – Jessica Berry
Tournament MVP – Laura Keating

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