Michael's career-high 25 points propels California (Pa.) by Edinboro in Round 1
ERIE, Pa. -- Senior guard Stephanie Michael tied her career high with 25 points, including 18 in the first half, as California (Pa.) posted an 80-72 upset against second-seeded Edinboro in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Hammermill Center on Friday.
With the win, the Vulcans improved to 21-8 overall and advanced to face sixth-seeded Glenville State, who upset defending national champion Shaw in the second round Saturday.
The victory also snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Fighting Scots, which included a pair of losses in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament. Meanwhile, Edinboro finished the year with a 22-7 record after making its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Michael scored a game-high 25 points after shooting 8 of 17 from the floor, including 5 of 10 from beyond the arc. She has posted seven games with at least 20 points this season after entering the year with a career-high of 19 points. Michael also collected four rebounds and three assists while playing all 40 minutes on Friday. In the first two meetings against Edinboro this season, she was limited to a combined 18 points on just 7 of 27 shooting with only four 3-pointers.
Junior forward Ashley Hines added nine points and a season-high 15 rebounds off the bench. She leads the team with 7.4 rebounds per game this season and entered play with just 16 rebounds during his previous three games.
Junior Ryah Gadson added 14 points off the bench, while sophomore Emma Mahady posted 13 points and seven rebounds in the victory. Junior forward Elena Antonenko finished with nine points while battling foul trouble and guard Kate Seebohm totaled five assists.
The two teams traded baskets until midway through the first half when the Vulcans mounted a 12-3 run in five minutes to take a 32-23 lead with 6:42 remaining. Edinboro countered with an 8-1 rally to trim the deficit to 33-31 with 3:55 left before the break. Cal then snapped a three-minute stretch without a field goal by responding with nine consecutive points to take a 42-31 lead with 23 seconds remaining. The Fighting Scots scored a 3-pointer in the closing seconds, as the Vulcans took a 42-34 lead into halftime. Michael and Edinboro freshman Aignee Freeland were pivotal players in the first half, combining for 34 points.
Cal mounted an 11-4 run during the opening three minutes of the second half to stretch its lead to a game-high 15 points with 16:51 remaining. The Fighting Scots countered with a 14-4 rally in six minutes to trim the deficit to 57-52 with 10:54 left before the Vulcans snapped a four-minute scoreless drought with a 3-pointer at the 10:13 mark. The two teams then traded baskets before Cal took a 73-63 lead when Gadson converted a traditional three-point play with 5:06 remaining.
The Fighting Scots worked the deficit to seven points 75-68 with 3:48 left before the Vulcans scored on the ensuing possession. Both teams were held scoreless for almost two minutes before Cal sealed the win by scoring four consecutive points to stretch the lead to 80-68 with 1:16 left to play.
After shooting more than 50 percent in the first half, the Vulcans finished the game making 47.5 percent (29 of 61) from the field and 47.4 percent (9 of 19) from beyond the arc. The Fighting Scots shot similar from the floor, finishing at 45.5 percent (25 of 55). Cal posted a 37-31 rebounding advantage and scored 21 second-chance points with 15 offensive rebounds, seven by Hines.
Freeland finished with a career-high 20 points in the losing effort. Junior guard Darche' Jackson posted 19 points, while senior forward Samantha Blazetic added 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Fellow senior Kiara Brown was limited to five points after entering the game as the PSAC's leading scorer at 17.8 points per game.