January 5, 2012

Spartans Grind Out Overtime Win at Elizabethtown

ELIZABETHTOWN, PA – The York College women's basketball team improved to 2-0 in overtime this season as the Spartans pulled off a 66-61 extra session win at Elizabethtown College on Thursday night in a big regional contest. The Spartans improve to 10-2 overall while the Blue Jays see their four game win streak come to an end as they fall to 8-4 overall.

The Blue Jays jumped on the Spartans early, leading 4-0 three minutes into the game. The Green and White struggled offensively early as they didn't break into the scoring column until sophomore Kristen Haley hit a lay up at the 15:56 mark of the first half. The first ten minutes of the game displayed a pair of shaky offensive efforts on both sides as the contest was tied at nine at the 9:42 mark of the half.

The Spartans started to pull ahead as they hit the Blue Jays with a quick 7-0 spurt to take a 19-14 lead with 5:18 remaining. The Green and White increased their lead to six on a Kelsey Murphy three. The Blue Jays cut the lead to three on a Taylor Kreider free throw but senior April Sparkman cashed out a triple, increasing the York lead back to six. The Spartans couldn't maintain momentum heading into the half as Kreider hit a tough bucket in traffic to cut York's halftime lead to 29-25.

York regained the momentum coming out of the break, scoring five straight points to take a 34-25 advantage just 1:05 into the second half. The Spartans eventually pushed the lead to 12 on a Haley three five minutes into the stanza. The York lead vacillated between five and 12 points over the next seven minutes before Taylor Alwine drew the Blue Jays to within three at 46-43. From that point forward, the two teams would be neck and neck the rest of the game.

The Spartans maintained the lead until a 5-0 Elizabethtown spurt tied the game at 53 with 2:28 remaining in regulation. York recaptured the advantage with a free throw and bucket from Haley as the Spartans led 56-53 with 1:41 left in regulation.

Elizabethtown got a pair of free throws from Kendra Beittel at the 1:13 mark and then tied the game as Alwine split a pair of free throws with 51 seconds left. The Blue Jays forced a tough shot from York and had the ball and the chance to win with 22 seconds left. After a time out, York had a great defensive possession and Aja Wallpher tipped a ball in the passing lane, coming up with the steal after being tied up for the jump ball. The Spartans had one second left but Haley's long pass to Brittany Hicks couldn't find the mark and the teams headed for the five minute extra session.

In overtime, Murphy hit a three from the right wing on York's second possession, giving York the early lead. The Blue Jays again tied the game, the sixth and final tie of the game, on a Nadine Yunginger hoop with 2:03 remaining in the overtime. The teams exchanged fruitless possessions before York's Wallpher was fouled with 1:21 left. The sophomore calmly sank both attempts, giving York a lead they wouldn't lose. After York got a stop, Wallpher found Sparkman on the baseline for a lay up with the shot clock getting ready to expire, giving York a 64-60 lead. Kreider was fouled on the ensuing Blue Jay possession but split the pair and York sealed the win with a pair of Haley free throws with 11 seconds left.

Haley led the Spartans with her third straight double-double as she poured in a game-high 22 points while she also had 11 rebounds. Haley now has five double-doubles for the year for York. She was 8-for-18 from the floor including 2-of-3 from distance while she also converted 4-of-6 from the line. Sparkman was the other Spartan in double figures with 18 points while she also had six rebounds, four blocks, two assists, and two steals in a team-high 41 minutes of work.

Hicks added nine points and five rebounds while Wallpher finished with seven points, five assists, two rebounds, two blocks and one steal.

The Blue Jays were very balanced led by Kreider as she had 14 points and 14 rebounds. She was 4-for-12 from the floor and 6-for-10 from the line. Stephanie Ellwood added 12 points while Yunginger contributed 11 points and seven rebounds. Beittel added 10 points and six boards for the Blue Jays.

The Spartans finished the game shooting 32.8% from the floor and 36.4% (8-for-22) from three. York was a very efficient 14-for-18 (77.8%) from the stripe. The Green and White harassed Elizabethtown into 33.3% shooting form the floor including 4-for-12 (33.3%) from distance. The Blue Jays killed themselves from the charity stripe, hitting just 13-of-24 (54.2%) in the loss. York has held their last nine opponents to under 37% shooting from the floor.

The Blue Jays pounded the Spartans on the boards, holding a 53-45 advantage on the glass. It was York's largest rebounding deficit of the year with their previous high being six which came in the first game against the Blue Jays.

The Spartans continue their important three game road trip on Saturday when they travel to the brand new Anderson Arena on the campus of Mary Washington to face the nationally ranked Eagles in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. Tip time in Fredericksburg is set for 2:00 pm.