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September 18, 2014
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Sports

Blue and Gold surge in second half to defeat Gators

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Brian Pulling/The Ithacan

The women’s basketball team advanced to the second round of the Division III NCAA Tournament on March 7 with its win against The Sage Colleges Gators 67–30.

Senior guard Mary Kate Tierney led the Blue and Gold with 12 points. She also added five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.

Senior guards Elizabeth Wentlent and Kathryn Campbell also had double-digit points. Wentlent tallied 11 points and six rebounds off of the bench, and Campbell scored 10 points and added six assists, four rebounds and a steal.

The Gators boasted the best defense in the Skyline Conference coming into the game. They only allowed 61 points per contest, and they held the Bombers to 21 points in the first half.

Head coach Dan Raymond said the Gators defense was tough in the beginning, but his team missed several open shots.

“It took us some time to just get into the flow of our game, most importantly,” he said. “In the first half, their defense was really consolidated in the middle, and they allowed us to take outside shots.”

The Bombers are in a similar position as last year’s team, which advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament. This year’s squad features nine players who were a part of last that squad.

Raymond said despite the team’s relative experience in the NCAA Tournament, the first game is always the toughest to win because players feel pregame jitters the more than any other game.

Tierney said on top of the nerves, the team felt the pressure that the Gators applied early in the contest.

“I think it was a lot of up and down and getting out a lot of nerves,” she said. It was fast-paced and a little bit of a frenzy. I think that affected our shooting to begin with, but we settled down in the second half.”

The score was knotted at 21 at halftime, but the Bombers improved in the second half. They shot about 55 percent from the floor after the intermission, more than double their efficiency in the first half. The team also hit 8–14 shots from behind the arc.

The Bombers stepped up on the defensive side of the ball as well, allowing the Gators to score only nine points on 4–25 shooting in the second half.

Wentlent said after the beginning of the game the team had a better sense which opposing players to focus on.

“We really wanted to get stops and know personnel — make players do things they aren’t comfortable with,” she said. “Once we were able to shut down certain players, and once we got on the boards and started running, we just got them out of their comfort zone, and that really helped us kick off our lead.”

For the Gators, junior guard Megan Bowman and freshman guard Frankie Pearson both had 10 points. Their point total was 66 percent of Sage’s entire scoring in the game.

The Bombers will play Haverford College at 7 p.m. March 8 in Ben Light Gymnasium. The Black Squirrels defeated Rhode Island College 53–48 before the Bombers and Gators played.