EDINBORO, Pa. — A double-double by Ashley Stoner led five Crimson Hawks in double-figures while Marita Mathe deflected a pass with seconds to go as IUP gutted out an impressive 77-76 win against Bloomsburg in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night.
The game was even the entire way as the Crimson Hawks largest lead was just eight points while they trailed Bloomsburg (26-6) by no more than three points, a deficit that came in the first half.
The field-goal percentage was nearly identical with IUP converting 43 percent (24-of-55) while the Huskies made 43 percent (25-of-58) of their shots. The Crimson Hawks also made their attempts at the foul line count, going 25-of-33 and out-rebounded Bloomsburg 40-32, grabbing 14 offensive boards.
Mathe’s defensive play came just after a pair of IUP missed free throws with six seconds left, as she knocked away a pass by Bloomsburg’s Maggie Borski to seal the win for the Crimson Hawks.
After a layup by Bloomsburg’s Kelsey Gallagher got the Huskies to within two at 75-73 with 29 seconds left, Mathe was fouled and sent to the line where she converted a pair of free throws with 26 seconds to go to put IUP back on top by four at 77-73.
A 3-point try by Dana Wieller on Bloomsburg’s next possession missed as IUP got to the line with 15 seconds left looking to extend its lead to six. When those two tries missed, the Huskies capitalized as Catherine Noack nailed a three to make it a one-point game at 77-76 with eight seconds remaining.
30-second timeouts by both teams followed by a Bloomsburg foul sent the Crimson Hawks to the line, setting up the final seconds.
The Crimson Hawks led by as many as eight in the second half when Stoner converted a layup with six minutes remaining, putting IUP ahead 66-58. Four foul shots followed by Kayla Oxenrider’s three cut the deficit to one as the Huskies trailed 66-65 with less than four minutes remaining.
The first half featured back-and-forth scoring as it included 10 lead changes, with the Huskies taking their biggest lead, a 25-22 advantage, with 5:55 remaining on a three-point play by Lauren Ellis. The Crimson Hawks would then use a pair of foul shots from Stoner and Talen Watson to take back the lead and then took a 38-37 lead into halftime.
The Huskies had four players reach double-figures in scoring, led by Gallagher with 23 points. Wieller finished with 19 while Ellis and Noack each added 10 points. The Huskies were weaker than normal from 3-point range as IUP limited Bloomsburg to just 9-of-28 from beyond the arc.
Stoner finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, in just 26 minutes of play. She went 6-of-8 from the field and 6-of-7 from the foul line, while seven of her 13 boards came on the offensive end.
Pastorek also finished with 18 points as she went 6-of-6 from the foul line, adding seven rebounds and three assists. Mathe scored 12 points, and went 6-of-8 from the foul line. Watson and Leslie Stapleton each added 11 points apiece, both coming off the bench to help the Crimson Hawks outscore Bloomsburg’s bench 29-10. Stapleton went 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and added four rebounds, while Watson went 4-of-5 from the foul line.