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Blistering First Half Powers Spartans to Win #16

YORK, PA – The nationally ranked York College women's basketball team steamrolled Frostburg State University 96-54 in Capital Athletic Conference action on Wednesday evening in York.

The Spartans, who are ranked 10th in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll and 11th in the d3hoops.com poll, improve to 16-0 overall and 8-0 in the CAC. The Bobcats fall to 3-11 overall and 1-7 in the league.

The Spartans opened the game by doing what they had done to a number of opponents early in the year. York played lockdown defense and got timely offense to sprint out to an early lead. York started the game with a 14-0 run keyed by five points from Kelsey Murphy (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) and Jess Selby (Upper Marlboro, Md./Calverton School), and four points from senior Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic). The Bobcats got a three from Ronje James at the 15:16 mark to get on the board. York then ripped off 21 straight points to blow the game wide open and as the lead ballooned to 32 with 6:09 left in the first half.

Frostburg scored five of the next eight points but the Spartans ended the stanza on a 10-0 run to close the half with a 48-8 lead.

The Spartans held Frostburg to 3-of-33 shooting in the opening 20 minutes including 2-for-11 from three. The Green and White also forced 19 turnovers, which they turned in 19 points in the half. York shot 55.6% from the field in the half as they continued to riddle the Frostburg press for easy looks. The eight points are the fewest the Spartans have allowed in a half all year, besting the 12 points they allowed against St. Mary's in the first half on January 15.

The only drama in the second half was whether senior point guard Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) would be able to catch and pass former Spartan All-American Keli Ward for the career lead in assists. Wallpher entered the game needing nine assists to tie Ward's school record of 640.

Wallpher got off to a fantastic start in the game with six assists in the first seven minutes of the game. She headed to the break with six, as she needed four helpers to set the record.

Wallpher tied Ward on a beautiful assist to Selby with 15:16 mark in the second half. Wallpher had a number of opportunities in the second half to break the record but her teammates couldn't convert as she heads into Saturday's game needing one assist to break the career record.

York pushed their second half lead to as many as 48 as the second 20 minutes was played at a very lethargic pace. Much of that could be attributed to the 36 combined fouls and 50 free throws attempted by the two teams. The Spartans got all 16 players significant court time in the second half.

Three Spartans reached double figures led by Murphy as she poured in a season-high 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field including 3-for-8 from three. Murphy also cashed in all seven of her free throw attempts, which is a new career high. Murphy also had four rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot in just 24 minutes of play. Hicks added 14 points and nine rebounds as she narrowly missed her ninth double-double of the year. Hicks did her damage in only 20 minutes of action. Selby was the third Spartan in double figures as she tallied 12 points with five rebounds.

Wallpher finished the night with nine assists, five rebounds, three points and three steals in 23 minutes before experiencing a rare foul out with 6:45 left.

York had 15 players reach the scoring column as ten Spartans played double-digit minutes in the victory.

Frostburg's leading scorer, Elaina Hummel, notched a team-high 17 points but she was held scoreless in first half, as Murphy was outstanding defensively. Hummel finished the game scoring her 17 on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor including 1-of-4 from three and 8-of-8 from the stripe. Simone Wise added 12 points and three rebounds while Jasmine Walker tallied 13 points and seven rebounds. Deara Parker led all players with 11 rebounds for FSU.

York finished the game shooting 47.5% from the fielding and 37.5% (6-for-16) from three. The Spartans were good from the line, converting a school-record tying 32 freebies in 41 attempts, good for a 78% accuracy mark.

Frostburg finished the game shooting 26.5% after shooting just 9.1% in the first half. Frostburg went 5-for-22 (22.7%) from three and 13-for-29 (44.8%) from the free throw line.

Frostburg is the ninth opponent that York has held to under 29% shooting in a game. 

York outrebounded the Bobcats 57-42, as it is the sixth time this year that the Spartans have held a double-digit rebounding advantage.

York scored their 96 points despite committing an astounding 27 turnovers. The 27 miscues were their second-highest total of the season, just two short of their season high set against McDaniel on November 26.

York's bench outscored their Frostburg State counterparts 45-11 while they also held a 42-22 margin in points in the paint. York scored 20 fast break points as the Bobcats elected to press the Spartans the entire game.

The Spartans return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Mary Washington in a Capital Athletic Conference contest. The game begins the second half of the conference season as York completed the first loop with a league high eight wins. Tip time at Charles Wolf Gymnasium is set for 1:00 pm.

Kelsey Murphy photo courtesy of David Sinclair

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