FREDERICKSBURG, VA – York College junior forward Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) poured in a career-high 32 points but it wouldn't be enough for the Spartans to overcome the University of Mary Washington Eagles as the hosts picked up a 76-67 Capital Athletic Conference win on Wednesday night. The Eagles have won 11 straight in the series as they have now locked up the second seed in the upcoming CAC Tournament.
The Eagles improve to 18-6 overall and 9-2 in the CAC while the Spartans fall to 18-6 overall and 7-4 in the league.
The Spartans got off to a great start in the game as the Green and White jumped out to a 12-3 lead thanks to five points from Hicks and five points from fellow forward Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation). The Eagles got back-to-back threes from Sam Partonen and Brieneke Matthes followed by a Claire Haeuptle bucket as they took a 13-12 lead with 12:26 left in the half.
The next few minutes were back-and-forth before Haeuptle hit a free throw to push the Eagle lead to six at 25-19. The UMW lead vacillated between three and six points until junior Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) split a pair of free throws to draw York to within two at 30-28 with 3:11 left in the half. Mary Washington held the Spartans scoreless over their final five possession while the Eagles scored seven points over the final 2:40 to take the 37-28 lead to the break.
The second half saw the Eagles continue to keep the Spartans at bay. York drew to within three on three different occasions but each time the Eagles had an answer. The Spartans got to within one at the 7:44 mark when Haley banged home a triple as York was down 52-51. Haley would tie the game just over a minute later with a made lay up but the Eagles quickly answered with an 11-4 run to seize control of the game.
Hicks halted that run with a pair of free throws at the 4:06 mark and York pulled to within five on a pair of Murphy's free throws with 3:02 remaining. Hicks cut into the lead further with a pair of free throws but she would foul out on the next possession as the Spartans would have to play the final 2:09 without their all-conference forward.
The Eagles would secure the win at the free throw line as the Spartans went four straight possessions without scoring. While York was struggling from the field, the Eagles did just enough at the free throw line to build the lead to 11 at 73-64 with 1:01 left. York got a pair of Haley baskets to end the game but ran out of time in the nine-point loss.
Hicks finished her career night 11-for-14 from the floor including 1-for-2 from three. The junior also went a blistering 9-for-10 from the free throw line. She picked up 12 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the year.
Haley contributed 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting while she made two threes and was 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Haley had two blocks and two assists in her 26 minutes of work.
The Spartans had only three other players score in the loss as they only played seven players in the game.
Haeuptle came off the bench and led the Eagles with 22 points as she was 5-for-7 from the floor including 2-for-3 from three and 10-for-15 from the free throw line. Aubrey Howland notched a double-double for the Eagles as she tallied 17 points and pulled in 13 rebounds. Howland was 5-for-11 from the floor and 7-for-16 from the free throw line. Partonen was the third Eagle in double figures with 11 points while she also had five assists and four rebounds.
The Eagles depth played a key in the win as UMW played 10 players in the game while they got 33 points off the bench.
The Eagles shot 41.4% (24-for-58) from the floor while they converted 6-for-13 (46.2%) from three. The Spartans converted 24-for-61 (39.3%) from the floor and 5-for-20 (25%) from three. The Eagles held a significant advantage in trips to the charity stripe as they went 22-for-39 (56.4%) while York was 14-for-19 (73.7%).
The Eagles finished the game with a 45-37 edge on the glass while both teams did a good job of taking care of the ball. Mary Washington had just eight turnovers in the win while York had just 10 miscues in the loss.
The Spartans have locked up the tournament's third seed with the loss in the game. They could still finish tied with Salisbury but York would hold the tiebreaker over the Sea Gulls.
York concludes their 2012-13 regular season on Saturday as they host Frostburg State. Tip time is set for 1:00 pm and will be preceded by Senior Day festivities at 12:50 pm.