March 13, 2009

Courtesy of Philadelphia Athletics

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The #8 seeded Philadelphia University Lady Rams (21-10, 14-5 CACC) ended their season with a 80-62 loss in the first round of the NCAA Northeast Division II Women's Basketball Tournament to the #14 nationally-ranked and tournament #1 seed Franklin Pierce University Ravens (25-5, 18-4 NE 10) on Friday afternoon.  PhilaU was led by junior center Jess Romano (Horsham, PA/ Hatboro-Horsham) with 17 points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Taylor Magnus (Plymouth Meeting, PA/ Plymouth-Whitemarsh) with 14 points.     

Turnovers played a pivotal role in the contest as the Lady Rams led in that margin 21-16, while the Ravens outshot PhilaU 42%-38%.

The Lady Rams jumped out to a 6- 3 lead early in the first half, but FPU's junior guard Johannah Leedham knocked down the team's first nine points to keep them up 9-8 at 13:48.  Leedham had a game-high 21 points for FPU.  PhilaU junior forward Kate Brennan (Stratford, NJ/ Sterling) knocked down a bucket to give the Lady Rams a 10-9 lead on the next play.  Brennan finished with 13 points and nine boards on the day. 

The Ravens went on a 14-5 run over the next five minutes to pull ahead 24-16 at the 7:40 mark and led by their biggest tally of the half 41-22.    

The Ravens did not slow down in the second half, sprinting out on an 11-3 run in the first two and a half minutes to go up 52-25- their biggest lead of the game.

Yet, the Lady Rams began to chip away at the Raven lead as Magnus cut it to under 20 at 7:15, sinking her free throws to make it 71-52.  The Lady Rams came within 12 points on two made free-throws by K. Brennan, but the Ravens held on for the 80-62 NCAA victory to move onto the semifinal round tomorrow. 

The loss ends PhilaU's run, as the squad wrapped up a tremendous 2008-09 campaign.  The team won their first CACC title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2000-01 season.