Sparkman Eclipses 1,500 Career Points; Spartan Win Streak Reaches Nine
OWINGS MILLS, MD – The York College women's basketball team tuned up for their big Capital Athletic Conference Saturday showdown with undefeated and nationally ranked Mary Washington with a 73-39 victory over Stevenson University on Wednesday night in Owings Mills, MD. The Spartans, winners of nine straight, improve to 19-3 overall and 12-1 in the CAC. The Mustangs, in their final year in the CAC, fall to 9-13 overall and 5-9 in the league.
The Spartans were clicking on offense all night long, even if they weren't scoring early. The Green and White failed to convert on some quality chances in the opening five minutes of the game but the offense started to gear up as York took an 8-0 lead 4:20 into the game. While the offense took a little time getting its footing, the defense was stellar from the opening tip. The Spartans did not allow a field goal until Rayshell Parker hit a jumper at the 14:16 mark. The York lead grew to nine on a Brittany Percich layup before the Mustangs trimmed the advantage to five with 11:36 left in the half.
The York lead vacillated between nine and seven points over the next five minutes as the Green and White couldn't pull away. The Spartan defense turned it up and York finished the final 4:30 of the half on a 12-1 run as their lead grew to 19 at 34-15 at the break.
York held Stevenson to 20% (5-for-25) from the floor in the first half while the guests had nine steals and four blocked shots.
The second half saw the Spartans continue to take the play to the Mustangs as York opened the half by scoring 24 of the first 29 points of the half. That run increased the York lead to 38. The York lead grew to as many as 39 before the Spartans settled for the final 34 point win.
Senior April Sparkman had a milestone night in two different ways in the win. First, she broke into the Spartans' top five in all-time scoring with her fifth point of the night as she passed Jamie Floyd to join the top five. Sparkman then eclipsed 1,500 career points with her 18th point of the night, a free throw with 12:40 left in the game. Sparkman finished the night with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the floor including 1-of-3 from distance. She also canned 3-of-4 from the free throw line. Sparkman also recorded five rebounds, two blocked shots and four assists in the victory.
Sophomore forwards Kristen Haley and Brittany Hicks joined Sparkman in double figures as they each recorded 12 points. Hicks notched her seventh double-double of the year with a game-high 13 rebounds. She also had a career-high six assists in addition to three steals. Haley pulled in eight rebounds while she had five blocked shots for York. Sophomore guard Kelsey Murphy was the fourth Spartan in double figures with 10 points while she also had five rebounds, three assists, a blocked shot and a steal. Sophomore point guard Aja Wallpher had another outstanding floor game as the Spartan floor general had a career-high 11 steals, seven assists, six points and two rebounds in her 36 minutes of work. Wallpher's 11 steals established a new school record for single-game steals.
Sam Murray was the lone Mustang in double figures as she finished with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the floor including one three and 5-of-6 at the free throw line. Murray also had a team-high eight rebounds and two blocked shots for Stevenson.
The Spartans finished the game shooting 45.2% from the floor, 33.3% (4-of-12) from three and an uncharacteristic 56.5% (13-for-23) from the line. Stevenson shot just 21.1% from the floor in the game as the Green and White harassed them into a 12-for-57 shooting performance. The Mustangs made 1-of-2 from three while they converted 14-of-22 (63.6%) from the stripe.
The Spartans now set their sights upon undefeated Mary Washington on Saturday. The Eagles will enter the game ranked in the top ten in both of the national polls but are also coming off just a six point win at Hood College on Wednesday night. Tip time from Wolf Gymnasium is set for 4:00 pm.