Edinboro's efforts lead to PSAC title
BLOOMSBURG, Pa. – Tournament Most Outstanding Player Darche’ Jackson came off the bench to score a career-high 24 points to lead 21st-ranked Edinboro to a 75-58 win against California (Pa.) in the 2011 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship game.
The game was played at Bloomsburg’s Nelson Field House. Edinboro won its second PSAC championship, with the other coming in 1989-90, and clinches the PSAC's automatic berth to the NCAA Playoffs. The Fighting Scots have now won 12 games in a row and are 26-3, one win shy of the school record for wins in a season. The 1989-90 team finished 27-3. California (Pa.) is now 22-7, with three of the losses coming to Edinboro.
Both teams now await word on the NCAA playoffs, with the tournament bids announced Sunday night. Edinboro entered the PSAC Tournament ranked No. 1 in the Atlantic Region, and the Fighting Scots are likely in line to host the regional on March 11-12, 14. The Vulcans were fourth in the region and should also move on to postseason action.
Head coach Stan Swank was extremely pleased with his team’s third win against Western Division Cal.
“We’ve taken every game individually and our kids have been great about that,” related Swank. “We played a great first half defensively. I think Cal was a little tired from the night before and we were able to pull away. The kids are so excited. They’re on cloud nine right now.”
Jackson made sure that California (Pa.) wasn’t able to stage a comeback. The redshirt freshman scored 12 points in the first half as Edinboro jumped out to a 28-19 lead. Despite shooting just 26.5 percent from the floor the Fighting Scots held the nine-point advantage thanks to Cal shooting just 26.1 percent and committing 15 turnovers compared to just seven for Edinboro.
The Vulcans would close to within a point at 39-38 with 14:10 to play on Danielle Luckett’s layup. Over the next 6-plus minutes Edinboro went on a 21-6 run to effectively put away Cal. Jackson scored six of those points, capping the outburst with a layup at 7:39 to make it 60-44. Cal would never get closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
California (Pa.) never led by more than two points, and the last time came at 6-4. The Fighting Scots ran off seven points in a row – five by Jackson – to go up 11-4. Edinboro never trailed after that.
Jackson was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after making 9 of 18 field goals, including 2 of 3 treys, and going 4 of 5 from the line. She added four rebounds and a pair of steals.
Renee’ Brown added 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds. The junior forward moved to within eight points of 1,000 for her career. Samantha Blazetic also provided the Scots with a huge presence off the bench. The sophomore finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. She now has 73 blocked shots, tied for the third-highest total in a season.
Amy Johns led a trio of Vulcans in double-figures with 18 points. Kayla Smith added 14 points and 12 rebounds, with Luckett totaling 10 points.
Both teams ended the night shooting 38.5 percent from the floor. But the Fighting Scots were 21 of 25 from the free-throw line compared to 15 of 18 for Cal. In addition, Edinboro outrebounded the Vulcans 41-35 and forced 23 turnovers. The Fighting Scots were guilty of 14 turnovers.
Edinboro last appeared in the PSAC title game in 2005, losing to California (Pa.). This marked the 11th consecutive year the Vulcans had appeared in the title game, and the fifth consecutive year they have lost in the championship tilt.