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basketball-women-d3 flag | March 2, 2014

DIII: Amherst moves to NESCAC champ. for seventh season

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Second-seeded Amherst will play in the NESCAC championship game for the seventh-consecutive season after pulling out a 45-42 conference semifinal victory against Bowdoin at Tufts’ Cousens Gymnasium.

Winners of four-consecutive league titles, the Jeffs (24-2, 9-1 NESCAC) will face the host Jumbos on Sunday. With the loss, Bowdoin dropped to 21-5 on the season and will await a possible NCAA Championship at-large berth.

Trailing for the majority of the second half, the third-seeded Polar Bears came back to tie the score at 42-42 on a lay-up by Sara Binkhorst with 46 seconds remaining in regulation. Coming right back, Amherst's Savannah Holness rebounded a miss at the other end and put it back with 33 ticks to go to give the Purple & White a 44-42 advantage.

With Bowdoin missing its shot on the other end, Ali Doswell grabbed the rebound before getting fouled and making 1-of-2 at the line with 15 seconds remaining. The Polar Bears had a chance to tie it coming out of a timeout, but sophomore Selena Lorrey's three-pointer was blocked by Marley Giddins, who corralled the rebound to end the game.

Doswell led all scorers with 15 points and eight boards, while Giddins chipped in with 11 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks. Hannah Peterson added eight points and six boards, while Jaimie Renner and Holness matched career-highs in steals and blocks, respectively, with four apiece.

No. 1 Hope 88, Calvin 79

HOLLAND, Mich. -- Hope claimed its 13th Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament title Saturday night by defeating Calvin 88-79.

The nationally ranked Flying Dutch held off a late charge from the third-seeded Knights to win the highest-scoring championship game in MIAA Tournament history and one of the highest-scoring ones in the Hope-Calvin rivalry.

Hope (27-0 overall) clinched the MIAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Muara McAfee grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. She also collected five steals and three blocked shots.

Senior guard Brittany Berry matched her season-high with 20 points as Hope's starters combined for 80 points.

Senior guard Anna Kaufmann, scored a career-high 16 points, while senior guard Megan Kelley had 12 points.

Hope held on after Calvin (19-8) cut a 20-point deficit midway through the second half to four points with 3:12 remaining.

No. 3 Thomas More 80, Washington & Jefferson 58

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. -- Thomas More  won its eighth-consecutive Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) championship as it defeated third-seed Washington & Jefferson 80-58 Saturday in the championship game of the PAC championship tournament at the Connor Convocation Center.

With the win, the Saints improve to 28-0 and earn the PAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship tournament for a seventh-consecutive season.

Sophomore guard/forward Sydney Moss recorded her 13th double-double of the season as she had a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds. Joining her in double-figure scoring was Burgoyne with 16 points and junior guard Sydni Wainscott with 10.  Moss also led the team in assists with seven, while senior guard Devin Beasley added six.

No. 5 Washington (Mo.) 63, Chicago 57

CHICAGO -- Junior All-American Melissa Gilkey scored 15 of her game-high 16 points in the second half to lead No. 5 Washington (Mo.) to a 63-57 win at Chicago in the season finale for both teams Saturday.

Gilkey, who had one point in the first half in six minutes of play, was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line and added 11 rebounds to pick up her ninth double-double of the season and 19th of her career. Senior forward Jordan Rettig added 14 points and 13 boards for her sixth career double-double, while junior guards Maddy Scheppers (11) and Alyssa Johanson (10) also scored in double figures in the win.

Washington U. shot 33.3 percent (18-54) from the field in the win and outrebounded Chicago 48-39. The Bears also connected on 24-of-30 from the free-throw line.

Gilkey went to the bench with 13:17 to play in the first half after picking up her second foul. Johanson came off the bench and provided a much-needed spark as she nailed three-consecutive jumpers and a lay-up by Rettig gave Washington U. a 20-12 lead. The Bears extended the run to 22-5 after a pair of free-throws by Scheppers gave WUSTL its largest lead of the game at 30-14.

Scheppers added her third 3-pointer of the half with 25 seconds left as WUSTL took a 35-22 lead to intermission. Scheppers (11) and Rettig (10) scored in double figures in the first half as the Bears shot 42.3 percent (11-26) from the field. Washington U. also hit 10-of-14 from the foul line. Chicago was limited to 27.6 percent (8-29) shooting and hit just 2-of-12 from three-point range.

Gilkey scored the first seven points for the Bears in the second half as they opened up a 42-27 lead. Chicago got back into the contest with seven-consecutive points to trim the lead to 44-36 and force two timeouts by WUSTL head coach Nancy Fahey. The Bears started the second half ice cold from the field hitting just 3-of-16.

No. 6 Tufts 57, Trinity (Conn.) 47

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Tufts used a late second-half run to earn a 57-47 victory against Trinity (Conn.) in the 2014 NESCAC Championship semi-finals on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gym. The Jumbos will play the winner of the Amherst and Bowdoin semi-final for the conference championship.

Tufts, who improved to 25-1 overall, will be playing to capture its first NESCAC title. This will be the Jumbos fourth conference final, including 2007, 2008 and 2012. Trinity finishes their season at 16-9.    

Junior Haley Kanner led Tufts with 19 points, hitting eight of fourteen shots adding six rebounds and four blocks. Freshman Michela North finished with 10 points.

Senior Liz Mynihan chipped in four points and five rebounds to go along with her game-high four steals while freshman Emma Roberson added seven points and four boards.

Trinity was led by Hannah Brickely with 15 points to with seven boards. Shantel Hanniford scored 12 and pulled down four rebounds.

Tied 4-4, the Jumbos used a jumper by Foley and layup by Kanner to take an 8-4 lead at the 14:38 mark. With 9:13 remaining, North completed the traditional three-point play to give Tufts their largest lead of the half of six points, 21-15. A trey by Abigail Hancock and 3-point play from Hanniford tied the game at 25-25 with 4:22 left. The Jumbos went on a 4-0 run to go into halftime with a 31-27 lead.

Leading 40-38 at 12:53, the Jumbos outscored Trinity 12-3 during the next 8:49 to create an 11 point cushion. In that span, Roberson scored five points and Kanner added four. Foley's 3-pointer gave the Jumbos a 52-41 lead and the home team never looked back.

No. 7 FDU-Florham 64, DeSales 47

MADISON, N.J. -- FDU-Florham's perfect season continued on Saturday afternoon, as they defeated DeSales and claimed the second consecutive Freedom Conference Championship.

The Devils (27-0, 14-0 Freedom) are onto the NCAA tournament, as the 64-team field will be announced this Monday.

After a sloppy first half, with the two teams combining to commit 27 turnovers, the Bulldogs held a 23-22 lead. Both teams struggled offensively, as the Devils shot 37 percent from the floor, while the Bulldogs finished 8-of-31 (25.8 percent) in the opening stanza. DeSales senior guard Alexiah Grant led all scorers at the break with 13 points, five of which came at the free throw line.

As has been the case lately, FDU-Florham righted the ship in the second half. With the Bulldogs leading 27-25, the Devils fired off an 11-0 run to gain control of the game. Jalessa Lewis and Rachel Groom sparked the scoring run by tallying nine of the team's 11 points. Lewis' 3-pointer with 16:35 to play capped the rally and delighted the home crowd.

With 14:13 to play in regulation, Megan Gallagher finished a layup to bring the Bulldogs within four points at 37-33. However, the Devils picked up the pace again and a pair of 3-pointers by Alyssa McDonough and Leigh-Ann Lively built the FDU-Florham lead to 11 points at 44-33.

DeSales managed to get within six points but FDU-Florham never wavered and with 3:59 remaining a pair of free throws by Freedom Conference Player of the Year Kyra Dayon provided the Devils with their largest lead of the contest 64-47.