The women’s basketball team defeated the St. John Fisher College Cardinals 69–65 in the first round of the Empire 8 Championship Tournament. The Bombers entered the tournament as the number three seed for the first time in their 11th straight appearance.
Entering the game, the Blue and Gold were 16–6 all-time in the tournament and have won six titles. With the victory, the team’s record is now 16–10 on the season.
The Blue and Gold entered the fourth quarter with a three-point lead, but eventually surrendered it when the Cardinals stormed back to tie things up at 61–61 with 4:44 left in the game. Junior guard Ali Ricchiuti nailed a key 3-pointer with just under two minutes left to take a one-point lead, but senior Cardinal forward Bridget Carney hit one of two free throws to tie the game up at 64.
Sophomore guard Jordan Beers hit two clutch free throws with 21 seconds left to take a 68–64 lead, and junior forward Erin Ferguson sealed the victory by hitting one more free throw.
Beers led the team with 20 points on eight of 15 shooting from the field, while going a perfect 4–4 from the free-throw line. Senior guard Keri Steele contributed 13 points and three rebounds. Ricchiuti, took on the role of playmaker throughout the game by dishing out five assists to go along with six points. The team as a whole totaled 11 assists.
Ferguson finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Sophomore forward-guard Julie Yacovoni played key minutes off the bench, scoring five points with two blocks.
The Bombers found a way around their season-long shooting woes, finishing 44.1 percent from the floor, but still only shot 22.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Cardinals were led by senior guard Mary Kate Cusack, who scored 19 points with 5 rebounds and two made 3-pointers. Junior guard Emily Piacentini also added 8 points in 29 minutes.
With the victory, the Bombers advance to the Empire 8 Championship Feb. 27 to take on Stevens Institute of Technology.