Edinboro makes free throws down the stretch to clinch spot in Elite Eight
GLENVILLE, W. Va. -- Edinboro used a second-half comeback to rally past Bloomsburg and capture the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region championship with an 82-76 victory on Monday night at Jesse R. Lilly Gymnasium on the campus of Glenville State.
The second-seeded and 25th-ranked Fighting Scots (27-5) roared back from an 11-point second half deficit, taking advantage of Bloomsburg foul trouble and nearly flawless shooting at the foul line to rally after No. 14 Bloomsburg led nearly the entire way.
Lauren Hippo led the Fighting Scots with 23 points, five rebounds and two assists. Behind a 9-for-9 performance from the free-throw line, Valerie Majewski scored 20 points while Darche' Jackson and Aignee Freeland each scored 14.
Four players worked their way into double figures for the fourth-seeded Huskies (26-5), led by 18 points from junior Jocelyn Ford who also registered seven rebounds and six assists while going 8 of 12 from the floor. Senior Brianna Dudeck posted 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting and fellow senior Catherine Noack poured in 15 points. Redshirt sophomore Adreana Sadowski added 10 points for Bloomsburg.
After leading by nine at the half, the Huskies stretched the lead to double digits to begin the second period on two foul shots from Sadowski and, following two shots at the line by Hippo, moved ahead by 11 once more following a jumper from Noack at the 17:38 mark.
Jackson answered with a runner in the lane for the Scots, who would never trail by more than nine the rest of the way. Bloomsburg moved its lead to 53-45 with 14:07 remaining, but Edinboro went on an 11-2 run to take its first lead of the entire game at 56-55 following a layup from Majewski.
The teams then began a see-saw battle for the lead with back-to-back 3s from Noack and then Dudeck giving the Huskies the advantage, ultimately moving ahead 64-59 on a traditional three-point play from Dudeck with 8:27 left.
Dudeck's jumper with 3:35 remaining gave the Huskies what turned out to be their last advantage, 69-66, with 3:35 to go. Majewski nailed a 3-pointer 20 seconds later for the tie and a steal by Jackson led to another Scots 3, this time from Hippo for a 72-69 lead. Marla Simmons put in a layup on the opposite end to pull within a point, but Majewski and Hippo combined for consecutive layups sandwiching a Huskies miss for a five-point lead and less than a minute left on the clock.
Noack gave the Huskies another glimmer of hope with her 3-pointer to pull within 76-74 with 38 seconds left, but Edinboro continued what it had done all evening -- sink clutch free throws. Hippo and Majewski delivered six consecutive shots at the stripe during the final 30 seconds to put the game away and send Edinboro to the Elite Eight.