March 7, 2009

Courtesy Kean Athletics

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (03/07/09) - The Kean University women's basketball team season came to a close on Saturday evening, falling to host University of Rochester, 66-59, in NCAA Division III Tournament second-round action. 
The Yellowjackets used a 16-2 run in the final minutes of the game to erase a late four-point deficit and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth straight year. 
Sophomore guard Melissa Alwardt (Greece, N.Y.) scored a game-high 25 points, including 22 in the second half, while senior Alex Porter (Rockville, Md.) had 22 rebounds, as the Yellowjackets (24-3) held a commanding 59-35 edge on the glass, including a 22-3 advantage on the offensive end.
For the Cougars (22-8), junior guard Cardiss Jackman (Tobyhanna, Pa.) had 23 points and four steals. 
Kean led by as many as nine points in the second half, scoring nine straight points to build a 44-35 lead following a three-point play by sophomore forward Tiffany Patrick (Piscataway, N.J.) with 11:32 to go in the game. 
The Yellowjackets answered with eight straight points of their own to pull back within one point at 44-43 less than three minutes later, as Alwardt scored five points in the run.
The Cougar lead was extended back out to four points on two more occasions, the last of which came following a three-pointer by Jackman to give Kean the 54-50 edge with just 4:46 to go in the game.  
After Rochester tied the game at 54-54, Alwardt hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend the lead out to 60-56 with 1:46 to go. 
The Yellowjackets hit 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the win and Kean's Alysha Taylor (Galloway, N.J.) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to put the final margin at seven points. 
The Cougars scored the first four points of the game and that would be either team's largest lead until Kean used a 11-1 run to erase a 16-13 deficit and the Cougars would take at 26-21 lead into halftime behind Jackman's 15 points. 
Senior guard Ebony Jackson (Newark, N.J.), the program's all-time leader in career assists, closed out her career scoring eight points and dishing out four assists after battling early foul trouble. 
It was the Cougars third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, as Kean advanced to the Elite Eight the last two seasons.