Spartans Dig Deep to Remain Perfect

Spartans Dig Deep to Remain Perfect

YORK, PA – The York College women's basketball squad remained undefeated with a 77-72 come-from-behind win over Salisbury University in Capital Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon in Charles Wolf Gymnasium.

The Spartans remain perfect on the season, improving to 13-0 overall and 6-0 in the CAC. York is ranked 14th in the USA Today / WBCA Coaches Poll and 15th in the National Poll. With the loss, the Sea Gulls fall to 6-6 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

The Spartans looked a step behind from the start of the game, as the Gulls token pressure and zone defense seemed to bother the Green and White. Salisbury used some effective long range shooting to open up an early 12-9. In fact, junior Jess Selby (Upper Marlboro, Md./Calverton) was the offense for the Spartans as she hit a trio of threes to account for all of York's points in the opening six minutes of the game.

The Sea Gulls continued to build on their lead as they fashioned a prolonged 19-7 run to push their lead to 31-16 with 5:46 left in the half. That 15-point Salisbury advantage was the largest Spartan deficit of the year and was the first time York had trailed by double digits all year. Prior to today's game, York's biggest deficit was five points twice against Eastern Mennonite and once against Wisconsin Stevens Point.

The Sea Gulls looked primed to blow the Spartans out but York got another huge Selby three with just over five minutes remaining in the half to stop the Salisbury momentum. Selby's fourth three of the first half started the Spartans on a 15-4 run to end the half as they trailed by just four, 35-31, at the break.

York struggled to take care of the ball and rebound in the first half. The Spartans committed 10 miscues and were outrebounded by seven caroms including watching the Sea Gulls pull in 12 first-half offensive rebounds.

The Spartans maintained their late first half momentum to start the second stanza as they scored 16 of the first 23 points of the half to take a 47-43 lead with 14:33 left on the clock. The Gulls answered back with an 18-6 run of their own, pushing their lead to 61-53 with 6:14 left in the game.

That's when York started the run that would ultimately secure the win. Senior point guard Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) drew a foul and converted both of her free throws with 5:57 left. Those two free throws kick started a 13-0 run that turned the eight point deficit into a five point lead with 1:42 left.

Salisbury's Sarah Seipp hit a bucket in the lane but missed the free throw as York's lead was three with 1:23 left. The Sea Gulls were forced to foul and the experienced Spartans converted their chances to preserve the win. York went to the line 12 times in the final 2:21 and converted 10 of their chances as they extended their school record for wins to start a season to 13.

The Spartans solved the first half turnover problems, committing just three mistakes in the second half while they also outrebounded the Sea Gulls 18-15 in the second 20 minutes of play.

York was paced by All-American Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) as the senior forward tallied 20 points and eight rebounds in her 32 minutes of action. Hicks was 8-for-13 from the floor and 4-for-5 at the free throw line as she reached 20 points for the second time this season. Fellow senior forward Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) notched her second double-double of the year and the 26th of her career with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Spartans' dynamic post duo did most of their damage in the second half as they combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds. They shot 11-for-16 from the floor and 8-for-11 from the stripe.

Selby finished the game with a career-high 17 points as the junior went a blistering 5-for-5 from the floor including 4-for-4 from distance and 3-for-4 from the stripe. Fourteen of Selby's 17 points came in the first half as she kept York in the game. Wallpher also had a dynamic game for the Green and White as she had a season-high 16 points, a game-high eight assists, two steals, and two blocked shots in 38 minutes of play. Wallpher did not commit a turnover in the game.

The Sea Gulls were led by All-CAC guard Anna Hackett as she poured in a game-high 21 points. Hackett was 8-for-15 from the floor including 1-for-2 from three. She also made all four of her free throw attempts in the game. Becca Himes recorded a double-double for Salisbury with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Seipp contributed 15 points and nine rebounds while Courtney McManus added 11 points and four assists for Salisbury.

York finished tied their season-high from the floor as they shot 24-for-48 (50%), the identical mark they recorded in Wednesday night's win at Marymount. The Spartans finished 8-for-14 (57.1%) from three while they were fantastic from the free throw line, converting 21-of-26 (80.8%).

Salisbury shot 43.1% from the field for the game including 7-of-22 (31.8%) from three. Salisbury was 9-for-12 (75%) from the free throw line.

Salisbury finished the game with a 36-32 advantage on the glass while York had a 14-12 edge in second chance points.

The Spartans return to action on Wednesday evening when they host St. Mary's College in another Capital Athletic Conference contest. Tip time at Wolf Gymnasium is set for 6:00 pm.

Jess Selby photo courtesy of Seth Nenstiel