The Ithaca College women’s basketball team’s stellar season came to an end after it was defeated 61–87 in the the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III Tournament by Bowdoin College on March 9 in Brunswick, Maine. This was the Bombers’ first trip to the Elite Eight since 2014, and second in program history.
Bowdoin was dominant from the first whistle, and the Bombers were simply unable to find a scoring rhythm throughout the game. Senior guard Annie Giannone was the high scorer with 12 points, followed by junior forward Cassidy O’Malley who had 10 — well below her season average of 15. No Bomber athlete scored more than four points in any of the four quarters.
The Polar Bears were led by senior guard Taylor Choate, who netted 21 points. The South Hill squad’s defense could not contain Choate’s speed, as she scored several times on breakaways in the paint. Bowdoin had 42 points in the paint over the course of the game, while the Blue and Gold had only 22.
Fouls were also a huge weakness for the Bombers. They gave up 20 points in free throws to the Polar Bears on 27 attempts. The South Hill squad scored only eight of its points from free throws out of 12 attempts.
The Blue and Gold struggled to get going in the first quarter, as no player on their roster scored more than three points. Scoring remained low in the second quarter, but the Bombers’ defense kept the squad in the game, holding Bowdoin to just 14 points. Senior guard Sara Jackson was a key contributor with three rebounds. The Polar Bears led the Bombers 31–36 at halftime.
The South Hill squad seemed to lose all the momentum of the second quarter after halftime, giving up 23 points to the Polar Bears while scoring only 18. Choate sank 10 of those points for Bowdoin. The Bombers also had five turnovers and only seven rebounds to Bowdoin’s 10.
The Blue and Gold continued to struggle in the fourth quarter. The Polar Bears netted 28 points in the fourth, more than doubling the Bombers’ 12. Rebounds were again a major factor, as the South Hill squad had five, while Bowdoin claimed 12.
The Bombers graduate five seniors this year, three of whom are starters, but will attempt to continue their success in the national tournament next season and gain their first Final Four berth.