UTICA, N.Y. -The Utica College women's basketball team will take on host Moravian College (25-2) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament Friday night at 7 p.m. The Pioneers (21-6) recently knocked off Ithaca College to earn their second bid to the NCAA's in the past three years. Moravian has won 20 straight games - including the Landmark Conference Championship last weekend. The Greyhounds, located in Bethlehem, Pa., are ranked No. 9 nationally by D3hoops.com.
UC goes into Fridays game having won five of its last six games and looks to make it three straight postseason victories. The winner of Friday’s first round game will play the winner of Farmingdale State (25-1) and Gettysburg (22-4), on Saturday at Moravian.
The Pioneers have been led all season by a strong junior class that features prolific scorers Jessica Berry (Rome, NY) and Devon Croll (Vernon, NY). Berry leads UC in scoring with 21.9 points per game in addition to being the teams number one rebounder (10 per game). She was recently selected to the All-Conference First-Team for the third straight season and also earned Conference Player of the Year honors.
UC has also recieved consistent play this season from guard Devon Croll who ranks second on the team in points per game (12.9) and steals per game (2.7). Croll cemented her place in program-history when she became the ninth player all-time to eclipse 1,000 points in a win over Hartwick College (2/16/2010).
The Pioneers have received a boost off the bench from freshman center Meghan Fiore (Epping,NH), who has come on in the second half of the season to average 7.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Utica College has also benefited from consistency in its backcourt led by junior Stephanie Nara and sophomore Katie McGee. McGee leads the Pioneers in assists per game (3.7) and ranks third on the team in points per game (9.3), while Nara ranks second on the Pioneers in rebounds per game (4.9) and assists per game (3.1).