MSMC
Nieves

ANNVILLE, Pa. -- Mount Saint Mary's Kristina Nieves hit a right-handed hook shot with three seconds to play to allow the Knights to claim a 63-62 victory against Gwynedd-Mercy in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday night.

Gwynedd-Mercy's Bryn Cotetta scored the first five points of the contest as the Griffins jumped out with a quick 5-0 lead. Back-to-back free throws by Mount's Jen Mocanu made it a one-point game 5-4 but the Griffins responded with a 5-0 run.

Another three-pointer by Cotetta pushed the Griffins on top by a margin of 33-21, with less than a minute to play in the first half. Mocanu converted two more free throw attempts in the closing minute, but the Knights still trailed 33-23 heading into the break.

A layup by Gwynedd-Mercy's Taylour Alston gave the Griffins a commanding 14-point lead with just under 13 minutes to go and it looked as if the Knights' fate was sealed. Amanda Horvers stepped up for the Mount and knocked down a three-pointer to bring the Knights to within nine at 46-37 with 12:17 showing on the clock.

Trailing by two, Mocanu nailed two from the free-throw line to knot up the game 50-50 with just over six minutes to go. After the Griffins erupted for a 9-2 run to reclaim the lead, Nieves and Mocanu combined for six points and with 1:39 on the clock the Knights once again tied things up 59-59.

Gwynedd-Mercy's Shea Wassal and Jess Rotella put the Griffins back up by three, after converting free throw attempts in the final minute. With her team down by three Mocanu hit a jumper to bring the Knights to within one 62-61.

With just 43 seconds remaining on the clock, Rotella missed a jumper and the Mount collected the defensive team rebound. Mocanu dished the ball to Nieves who then drained a right-handed hook shot for the win.

The Mount outscored the Griffins 40-29 in the second half, while shooting 45.9 percent from the field. Mocanu led the Knights with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Nieves finished with 12 points and seven rebounds and Horvers just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.

Cotetta scored a team-high 18 points and Alston chipped in with 13 points an eight boards for Gwynedd-Mercy. Wassel led the Griffins on the glass with a team-high nine rebounds.