March 6, 2009

 

Courtesy of Stevens

NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 6, 2009) – Senior point guard Dani Dudek
scored 12 second-half points to help lift the Stevens Institute of Technology women’s basketball team to their first-ever NCAA win with a 59-50 victory over the University of Mary Washington in the opening round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Championship. The game featured four lead changes and was tied-up four separate times. The Ducks claimed a seven-point lead with less than two minutes to go in regulation. Sophomore center Paige Armstrong was unstoppable in the paint as she recorded her sixth double-double of the season on 13 points and 12 boards. She was responsible for the field-goal that brought the margin to seven. The Ducks have advanced to the second round and will take on the winner of the New York University/Salve Regina University matchup on Saturday at 7 p.m. Stevens improves to 23-5 on the year as the Eagles end their season with a 23-6 overall mark.

Both teams came out of the gate fired up and a little too excited as the squads turned the ball over 10 times apiece in the first 20 minutes of play. Ahead by seven with 2:57 remaining in the first, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run to close out the half and take their first lead of the game (25-24). During the spurt, senior guard Katie Clarkin (Centreville, Va.) opened-up the drive with a pair of free-throws. Freshman guard Katie Wimmer (Vienna, Va.) then cut the Eagles deficit to one when she drained a field-goal from downtown. The last bucket of the half was a jumper off the hands of senior forward Ashton Mitchell (Prince George, Va.).

Armstrong was 4-for-5 from the field and pulled in eight rebounds during in the first half. Both, freshman guard Dawn Garcia and sophomore Cindy Hassler sunk a pair of three-pointers for the Ducks to tally six points apiece. Dudek dished out four assists as the team shot 31 percent from the floor. Mary Washington produced a 39.3 shooting percentage (11-28) as Mitchell notched six points and four boards. Stevens received 13 points from its bench.

The Ducks started the second half with a three ball from junior guard Sarah Gehring. Stevens built its lead to six (31-25) off a Dudek jumper and a layup from freshman guard Melissa Collier. However the Eagles did not back down as they cut the margin to one (31-30) with 17:44 to go. It was a rollercoaster ride for the following 12 minutes. When the Ducks went on a slight run, Mary Washington answered with a run of their own. It was also tied two separate times in a three minute span; first at 40 then at 42 as the Eagles continued to come back.

The turning point came when junior forward Brittany Fuller hit her first three-pointer of the game to Stevens up by four (48-44) with 5:44 to go. Armstrong then added three more points on a layup and a free-throw to extend the lead to seven. Mary Washington tried to chip away, but the Ducks were resilient, having an answer for the offensive response of the Eagles. Dudek closed the game out with four free-throws in the final minute of play to secure the win and extend keep the Ducks’ dream alive.

The Eagles were just seven of 39 in the second half to produce a 26.9 shooting percentage on the evening. Stevens finished 21 of 56 (37.5%) and out-rebounded Mary Washington 46-39. The Eagles were flawless at the line as they knocked down each of their 11 free-throw attempts. Stevens received a total of 16 points from its bench. Fuller finished the game with 11 points and four rebounds. Dudek was perfect from the charity stripe (4-for-4) as she scored all of her points (12) in the second half and dished out six assists in the win. Garcia chipped in with nine points on three three-pointers.

Stevens will return to NYU on Saturday at 7 p.m. to take on the winner of NYU/Salve Regina.