March 6, 2009

Courtesy Rochester Athletics

Alex Porter and Julie Marriott combined for 45 points and 24 rebounds to lead the University of Rochester to a 67-56 victory over Widener University in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championships at the Louis Alexander Palestra.

Porter matched her career high with 25 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds. Marriott scored 20 points, had 12 rebounds, and four assists. Rochester improved to 23-3. The Yellowjackets will play Kean (NJ) University in Saturday's game. Kean defeated Marymount University, 74-60, in the first game of the evening. The Rochester-Kean winner will advance to the Sweet 16 on March 13-14 at a site to be announced.

Barbara Fleming led Widener (18-10) with 17 points. Beth Dessart Mager had eight points for the Pride . Casey Pritz and Alex Held scored seven points apiece.

Porter also cracked the 1,000-point plateau. She entered the game with 983 points. She scored her 17th and 18th points on a pair of free throws with 4:42 to play, stretching Rochester's lead to 53-47. She is the 10th player in school history to score 1,000 points and the second to do it this season. Marriott hit the 1,000-point level on February 6 against Emory. Porter has 1,008 points. She is ninth on the career list. Marriott has 1,075. She is sixth.

Widener took advantage of an ice-cold start from the floor by Rochester (the Yellowjackets hit just two of their first 16 field goal attempts) and led, 11-5 nine minutes into the game. Porter scored 12 points in a four minute run as Rochester edged ahead, 22-18, with 5:17 to go. Rochester led, 27-22, at the half.

The Yellowjackets stretched their lead to 12, 34-22, with a 7-0 run to open the second half. Marriott scored six of the seven points. Widener gnawed at the lead. The Pride got within four five different times, only to see Rochester answer. With the Yellowjackets ahead, 53-47, Lindsay Pepino hit a jumper and Dessart Mager sank a three-pointer to pull the Pride within 53-52 at the 4:10 mark.

Porter made one free throw, then assisted on a jumper by Jessica Mastronardi to restore a four-point margin. The Yellowjackets hit nine free throws in the final 3:20 to secure the win.