February 2, 2013

Big First Half Lifts Spartans Past Sea Gulls in Key CAC Win

SALISBURY, MD – The York College women's basketball team needed a victory at Salisbury on Saturday. The Spartans got that victory in impressive fashion as they downed the Sea Gulls 72-50 in Capital Athletic Conference action at the Maggs Center.

The Spartans improve to 17-5 overall and more importantly kept themselves in the conference race as they stand at 6-3 in the league. The Spartans sit one game behind second-place Mary Washington and two games back of front-running Marymount. The Sea Gulls fall to 10-10 overall and 4-4 in the league with the setback.

Like many Spartan games this year, the contest got off to a slow offensive start. The Spartans got on the board with a Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) three 2:15 into the game. That started a 7-0 Spartan spurt as the Green and White seized the early advantage.

Salisbury cut the lead to four at 10-6, but The Spartans scored 11 of the next 15 points of the game to push their advantage to 11 at 21-10. Salisbury got a pair of Katie McGahagan free throws but Spartan senior captain Loreta Tonuzi (Hazlet, N.J./ Raritan) hit treys on three straight possessions as the York lead quickly ballooned to 18 points.

The Spartans pushed the lead to 21 on a pair of Murphy free throws before the Gulls scored the final four points of the half as York took a 39-22 lead to the break.

The Green and White continued to control the contest in the second half. Salisbury got to within 17 three times before York went on a 9-2 spurt to push the lead to 24. York would eventually increase the lead to 26 on a Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) bucket with 2:28 left before the Green and White settled for the 22-point win.

The Spartans received a number of outstanding performances led by Haley as the junior forward poured in a game-high 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Haley, who has scored 20 points in three of her last four games, also had six rebounds, a pair of steals and a blocked shot in 28 minutes of work. Junior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) notched her 12th double-double of the year with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Hicks added three assists and two steals. The junior forward is now just 13 points short of 1,000 career points.

Murphy contributed 13 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal as she continues to play well for the Green and White. Tonuzi concluded the game with 12 points as she banged home four three-pointers in the first half. Point guard Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) had a solid floor game with a game-high 10 assists to go along with her six points, two rebounds, and five steals in 37 minutes of work.

Anna Hackett paced the Sea Gulls with 20 points while McGahagan notched a double double of her own with 14 points and 17 rebounds. Both Hackett and McGahagan were a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. No other Gull scored more than six points in the loss.

The Spartans shot the ball well, converting 45.8% from the floor and 43.8% (7-for-16) from three. The Spartans were pedestrian from the free throw line as they went 11-for-19 (57.9%) from the stripe.

The Sea Gulls shot just 33.3% from the floor and went a cool 3-for-15 (20%) from beyond the arc. The Gulls were a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line in the game.

The Spartan defense forced 21 turnovers and turned the Sea Gull miscues into 26 points. The Green and White took care of the ball as they made just 13 mistakes in the game but Salisbury got only six points off the Spartan turnovers.

York outrebounded Salisbury 35-32 in the game.

The Spartans are now off for the week as they have their CAC bye on Wednesday. The Green and White will host Wesley College next Saturday in York. Tip time is set for 1:00 pm.

Loreta Tonuzi photo courtesy of David Sinclair (www.davidsinclair.org)