GORHAM, Maine — Ithaca (27-2) upended Smith (23-5) 73-50 in an NCAA tournament second-round contest on Saturday at Southern Maine. The Bombers move on to the Sweet 16 where they will face Williams.
Ithaca, which won its 14th consecutive game, improved its single-season wins record to 27, while moving on to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history. The Bombers’ first trip to the sectional round was in 2003.
Ithaca used a 22-6 first-half run en route to a 20-point advantage at halftime. Ithaca edged Smith 34-31 in the second to earn the victory in Hill Gymnasium.
In the inaugural match up, senior Devin Shea led all players with 20 points. Juniors Jenn Escobido and Mary Kate Tierney each posted double-doubles for the second night in a row. Escobido was one rebound shy of her career high with a 15-rebound, 11-point performance.
Tierney recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 boards. She added a game-best four assists. Sophomore Samantha Klie chipped in nine points and junior Kathryn Campbell added eight.
Escobido netted the first of the game. With a 5-4 edge at the 17-minute mark, Ithaca used a 12-3 run for a double-digit 17-7 lead, forcing a Smith timeout. The Pioneers scored once before Ithaca posted a 10-1 stretch, highlighted by seven Escobido points, to lead 27-10 at 8:32. Smith pieced together a 9-4 streak to pull within 31-19, but the Bombers held the Pioneers scoreless during the final 4:25 while scoring eight of their own for a 39-19 halftime lead. Escobido reached her 12th career double-double by intermission with 11 points and 10 boards.
The teams traded baskets to open the second half. Klie scored five consecutive to help the Bombers to a 52-25 gap at 14:09. Smith surged to score 13 of the next 17, cutting within 56-40 at the six-minute mark. Ithaca outscored the Pioneers 17-10 down the stretch.
The Bombers shot 41.9 percent from the floor to the Pioneers’ 29.5 percent, while owning a 55-32 margin in rebounds.