March 23, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 43°F


Late free throws sink women’s basketball in NCAA tournament

In the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, the Ithaca College women’s basketball team lost 44–42 in a nail-biter against the Marietta College Pioneers on March 4. 

The Bombers gave it their all but ultimately fell short after a comeback from the Pioneers late in the fourth quarter. Graduate student guard Cara Volpe led the Bombers with 12 points while also dishing out four assists. To add on, senior guard Camryn Coffey had eight points and eight rebounds. 

For the Pioneers, senior guard Devin Hefner put up 15 points with seven rebounds. Senior forward Erin Hahn had eight points but snatched 13 rebounds.

The Bombers were slow to get their start in the first quarter. To start the game, the Pioneers went on a 5–0 run after sophomore guard Paige Tolson made a 3-pointer with 8:49 left in the quarter.

It took a little while, but the Bombers were able to get some momentum after Volpe made two layups to cut the deficit to 5–4. However, the Pioneers’ motivation was not slowed, hitting two 3-pointers in two minutes. The remainder of the quarter was back and forth with the final score being 13–13.

It took over two minutes to get their first basket in the second quarter, but the Bombers started the quarter on a 9–0 run. Not only that, but the South Hill squad presented some stellar defense, not letting the Pioneers score until 3:48 left in the quarter

The Pioneers got a small spark of energy going on a 6–0 run and cutting their deficit to only three points. But it was not long until Coffey made an and-1 play, finishing the quarter on a 25–19 Bomber lead.

Coming out of the locker room, the first points of the half came from a Bomber’s free throw. Both teams were hesitant to score in the quarter, with only seven coming from the Bombers and six coming from the Pioneers. The final score of the quarter ended with the Bombers leading 32–25. 

From left, Ithaca College senior guard Natalie Smith defends against Marietta College senior guard Devin Hefner. ZHANNZ GOMEZ/THE ITHACAN

The Pioneers’ junior guard Olivia Gribble opened the fourth quarter with a jumper. Despite this, it only took 30 seconds for Bombers’ senior guard Natalie Smith to answer back with a 3-pointer of her own. The two teams continued to exchange points throughout the quarter.

The last half of the quarter was ugly, as the Bombers could not seem to get their shots to fall. The Bombers did not score one point in the final five minutes of playing time. The game ended on a 9–0 run coming from the Pioneers and two free throws to secure the win.

Head coach Dan Raymond showed his support and love for his team, saying they played a good game but ultimately fell short because of the fourth quarter.

“At the very end of the game, I’m gonna give Marietta a ton of credit for the plays that it needed to come out at the winning end,” Raymond said. “We played really well. The vast majority of the game just felt a little bit shorter.”

For many graduating players on the team, this is the last game they will play at Ithaca College. Volpe said this program meant everything to her and loved the five years she had with the basketball team. 

“I loved it, I mean, me coming back just shows how I loved it,” Volpe said. “I felt we played as a team more than we have in all my 5 years. … It wasn’t about talent, it was about playing together.”