March 6, 2009

Courtesy NYU Athletics

Powered by a career-high 22 points from Grace Carmen, New York University broke open a tight game in the first half with a 22-2 second-half surge en route to a 80-55 victory over Salve Regina University in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship on Friday night at NYU's Jerome S. Coles Sports Center.

In securing their fifth straight victory, the Violets (22-4) earned a second-round matchup Saturday night at 7 p.m. against Stevens Institute of Technology (23-5), a 59-50 winner over the University of Mary Washington in the other first-round contest.

Three-time University Athletic Association Player of the Year Jessica McEntee recorded her 14th double-double of the season and 49th overall, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds. She became NYU's third all-time leading scorer, as the senior captain's 1,683 career tallies surpassed the previous mark of 1,682 set by Patti McCrudden (1984-85, 1986-89). McEntee also surpassed the 1,100-rebound plateau, and now has 1,111 in her stellar career.

Also for NYU, Christine Kilmurray recorded her second career double-double with a personal-best 13 points and 11 caroms, which helped her team own an impressive 59-26 rebounding advantage and a 52-14 edge on points in the paint.

Allegra Lavoy led Salve Regina (23-6) with 16 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals. Lindsay Shorey had 13 points and eight boards, while Olivia Browning produced 10 points.

NYU established its low-post power early, taking a 12-5 lead as McEntee scored eight points during the first 4:10. However, Salve Regina responded with 19 of the next 27 points to seize a 24-20 lead.

Eventually, McEntee hit a pair of free throws 29.5 ticks before the break, enabling the Violets to take a 33-32 lead at halftime after the teams traded the lead 10 times.

McEntee's free throws ignited what proved to be a game-breaking 24-2 run, as NYU claimed a 55-34 cushion with 12:25 remaining. Much of the damage was done in the paint, with Carmen netting 10 of her tallies and Gena Brown adding seven of her nine points to spur the decisive spurt.

Meanwhile, Carmen went 9-for-16 from the floor in 19 minutes to surpass her previous career best of 18 points set Jan. 4 against SUNY Brockport.

Chelsea Seabron added eight points for NYU, while Megan Fox gave the Violets three double-digit rebounders with 11 boards.

NYU shot 49.2% (31-for-63) from the floor and 71.4% (15-for-21) from the charity stripe.

Conversely, the Seahawks shot just 26.2% (17-for-65) from the field, including 23.1% (3-for-13) from beyond the arc, and 85.7% (18-for-21) at the foul line.