Valiants Use Big First Half to Defeat DeSales, 67-54

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PURCHASE, N.Y. – The Manhattanville women's basketball team defeated the DeSales Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon by the score of 67-54. The Valiants were led by their three seniors who combined for 34 of the 67 points.

Junior Taylor Wilson (Pearl River, N.Y./Pearl River) led the team individually with 21 points, while seniors Courtney Turner (Staten Island, N.Y./Ralph McKee) and Kelli Hyjek (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) had a dozen points each, and classmate Stephanie Vaiano (South Ozone Park, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) finished the game with 10 points. The Valiants had their best shooting night of the season as they shot 51.9% from the field while holding their opponents to a meager 34.4%.

Meanwhile in the rebounding category Manhattanville was led by their juniors, as Wilson and Jennifer McSharar (Garnerville, N.Y./North Rockland) each finished with seven a piece, all coming defensively. The Valiants played a solid game defensively as well, forcing the Bulldogs into 26 turnovers.

In the first half the Valiants jumped out to a 10-0 lead as they got seven points of the ten from Wilson. Manhattanville continued to roll with another 10-4 run as they opened up a 16-point gap at 20-4 with 13:52 to go in the half as Hyjek hit a jumper.

Manhattanville continued to pour it on by building their lead up to a game-high of 29 points with 2:05 to go in the opening stanza. Over the final two minutes the Valiants committed three turnovers and three fouls, which allowed the Bulldogs to finish the period on a 9-0 run and finished the half down by a score of 46-28.

In the second half, the Valiants opened up on a 7-0 on baskets by Vaiano, Wilson and Hyjek as they opened up the lead back to 25 points with three minutes gone by in the second stanza. DeSales answered with a 7-0 run of their own that was stopped by a layup from Turner. Manhattanville continued to hold onto their 20-point lead as the minutes continued to tick off the clock.

DeSales clawed back with a 12-0 run and pulled to within 13 with 2:07 to go in the half but it was too little, too late for the Bulldogs as they had dug themselves into too deep of a hole to come out of. Freshman Shayna Robinson (Deer Park, N.Y./Deer Park) stopped the run and bumped the lead back up to 15 with 52 seconds to finish off the Valiants scoring efforts for the night. Classmate Allison Baldwin (Newburgh, N.Y./Wallkill) made her collegiate debut late in the second half and went 0-for-1 from the field. DeSales hit one more layup with five seconds to go to cap off the scoring at 67-54 in favor of the home team.

Manhattanville (7-14, 2-9 Freedom) will look to continue their hot shooting when they take on the King's (Pa.) Lady Monarchs on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Earlier this season King's pulled off the buzzer-beater victory as time had expired to defeat Manhattanville 51-49 back on January 21. DeSales (12-10, 7-4 Freedom) will continue their battle for a playoff bid when they host the FDU-Florham Devils also at 1:00 p.m.