Johns Hopkins edges New England
Vassila goes for double-double, blocks potential game-winner
MEDFORD, Mass. -- Alex Vassila posted the biggest block of her career as she denied a lay up in the final two seconds of a one-point game to give Johns Hopkins the ball. Chantel Mattiola made the first of two free throws to give the Blue Jays a 53-51 win against the New England in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Vassila grabbed an offensive board and put the ball back up with 2:12 to go in the second half to put the Blue Jays up by three before UNE's Kari Pelletier hit two free throws to cut the lead back to one. With 23 seconds showing, UNE grabbed a defensive rebound and called a time out to set up what would be its final possession of the game.
After running down the clock to just two seconds, knowing they had one final shot, Pelletier drove to the basket for what looked to be a game-winning layup but Vassila was able to block the ball off a Nor'easter and give the Blue Jays another possession.
JHU inbounded the ball twice and both time the play resulted in a Nor'easter foul. The second one sent Mattiola to the free throw line and she hit the first shot with just two seconds on the clock to seal the first round victory.
The game did not begin as close as it would end as the Blue Jays pulled out to a 12-point lead with 10:50 to go in the first behind an 8-3 run to put the Jays up 21-9. The Nor'easters cut the lead back down to four with seven unanswered points to get the score to 21-17. With 1:42 to go in the first Stephanie Fong hit a jumper off a pass from Mattiola to put JHU up seven, 27-20 going into halftime.
Johns Hopkins would push its lead to 11 three more times in the second half, the last time with 6:45 to go off a lay up from Kat Fox. The Nor'easters quickly chipped away at the lead and pulled to within three, 45-42 behind eight unanswered points.
Vassila completed a traditional three-point play to give the Blue Jays a four-point lead, 50-46 their largest of the final 3:55 of regulation. UNE hit three-consecutive free throws to get within one but the Blue Jays held tough and their defense, led by Vassila, delivered the victory.
Vassila ended the day with her 10th double-double of the season as she posted 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Mattiola chipped in 10 points and handed out a game-high seven assists to help lead the Blue Jays to the first round win.
Mattiola's seven assists tied JHU's record for assists in a NCAA tournament game. Vassila posted six blocks in the victory, the most by a Blue Jay in the tournament as the team posted nine blocks to set the team NCAA tournament record.