March 7, 2009

Courtesy of NYU

Sparked by Jessica McEntee's career-high five three-pointers among her game-high 22 points, New York University earned its 13th trip to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship Sweet 16 with a 71-57 second-round victory over Stevens Institute of Technology on Saturday night at NYU's Jerome S. Coles Sports Center in New York.

McEntee also recorded her 50th career double-double, grabbing 13 rebounds as the Violets (23-4), ranked #14 in the D3Hoops.com Top 25 and #16 in the USA Today ESPN Division III Coaches Poll, secured a Sweet 16 matchup with Amherst College (27-2) next Friday night at a site to be determined.  Ranked #8 in the USA Today ESPN Poll and #11 by D3Hoops.com, Amherst advanced with a 76-37 victory over Emmanuel College.

This will be NYU's first Sweet 16 trip since 2007, when it reached its third Final Four.

"At the beginning of the season, one of our goals was to get to the Sweet 16," said McEntee, just the second  three-time University Athletic Association (UAA) Player of the Year.  "Now that we're here, I think we can go even further with all of the contributions we've been getting."

Grace Carmen enjoyed another stellar performance with 15 points and six boards for NYU, which will appear in its first Sweet 16 since it advanced to the Final Four in 2007.

Paige Armstrong finished with 17 points and 10 boards for Stevens Tech (23-6), which was making its first-ever NCAA Division III Championship appearance and won its first-round game, 59-50 over the University of Mary Washington in the first round Friday night.

Stevens Tech pulled with 49-43 in the second half and had a chance to slice the lead down to four, but a lay-up attempt rimmed out.  From there, NYU scored the next 10 points, including five from Christine Kilmurray, to take a 59-43 lead with 7:16 remaining.

Kilmurray finished with nine points and five rebounds in 12 minutes of action.

"Our outside shooting so strong," Kilmurray said.  "Once Jess hit those threes, it opened things up inside."

"We had some baskets go in and out and we missed some easy shots that rimmed in and out," Stevens head coach Jon Hochberg said.  "A six-point lead snowballs to 12 and we never really recovered."

In the first half, McEntee went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and led all scorers with 15 points as NYU took a 33-29 halftime lead.  The Violets led 8-0 at the outset and stretched their lead to 24-13, but Stevens Tech held the home team scoreless for more than six minutes while scoring seven straight points to pull within 27-24 after a lay-up by Armstrong.

McEntee finished 5-for-11 from the field, 5-for-8 from three-point range and 7-for-9 at the foul line while adding three assists in 39 minutes.

"If they're playing zone, Jess is fully capable of hitting five threes," NYU interim head coach Stefano Trompeo said.  "She's a very skilled shooter and got to display that against the zone defense they played."

Emily Foshag added nine points on three treys for NYU, which shot 44.4% (24-for-54) overall and 39.1% (9-for-23) from long distance.  The Violets also hit 14 of their 18 free throws (77.8%) and owned a 45-35 rebounding advantage.

Sarah Gehring had 10 points for Stevens Tech, the Empire 8 Conference Tournament champions.  The Ducks shot 33.8% (22-for-65) overall, including 6-for-22 (27.3%) from three-point range, and went 7-for-12 (58.3%) at the free-throw line.