Big First Half Leads Moravian to an 80-60 Win over Penn State-Behrend in ECAC South Semifinals
BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- Senior forward Alexandra Blair turned in her tenth double-double of the season in the first half, and she finished with 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead the second seeded Moravian College women's basketball team to an 80-60 victory over sixth seed Penn State-Behrend in the second semifinal game of the 2012 ECAC Division III South Championship Tournament in Johnston Hall Saturday.
The Greyhounds, now 17-11 on the season, will take on top seed Medaille (N.Y.) College in the championship game at 1:00 p.m. in Johnston Hall Sunday as the Mavericks defeated fifth seed Bethany (W.Va.) College, 84-72, in Saturday's other semifinal contest. Moravian is making its fifth trip to the ECAC title game, and the Greyhounds captured the championship in 1987 and 2007.
In Saturday's game, Moravian jumped out to a 3-0 lead on a three-pointer from senior guard Hilary Murray, and the Greyhound led 7-2 after a lay-up by sophomore guard Katie O'Rourke at the 17:14 mark. The Lions would come back and tie the game at 9-9 on a lay-up by junior forward Julia Myers, and PSU-Behrend pulled ahead 13-11 on another lay-up by Myers at the 12:06 mark. However, that would be the Lions' only lead of the game.
The Greyhounds would jump back in front 17-13 on back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Danielle Brogan, and two baskets by Blair pushed the Moravian advantage to 21-13 with 9:41 to play in the first half. Blair connected on another basket on the inside at the 7:37 mark to push the Greyhounds' lead to double figures at 25-15, and Moravian would keep the lead over ten points the rest of the half.
Sophomore forward Laura Jordan hit a pair of jumpers in the final 1:19 of the half to send Moravian to the locker room with a 48-30 advantage. Blair had 17 of her game high 21 points in the opening half to go along with ten rebounds and five blocked shots in the first 20 minutes of the game.
The Greyhounds had a hot shooting hand in the first half as the squad made 21-of-36 shots from the floor (58.3 percent), three-of-five three-point attempts and all three of its free throw attempts in the opening 20 minutes. Moravian also had eight turnovers while forcing the Lions into 11 turnovers, and both teams grabbed 20 rebounds in the first half. PSU-Behrend was 12-for-34 from the field (35.3 percent), two-for-eight on three-pointers and four-for-eight at the foul line in the opening half.
The Lions came out of the locker room and scored the first three baskets of the second half with a lay-up by sophomore guard Brianna Bayly at the 18:29 mark cutting Moravian's lead to 48-36. Greyhounds freshman forward Alexis Wright connected on a pair of free throws at 17:02 for Moravian's first points of the second half, but the Lions scored six more points in a row with a Bayly lay-up cutting the Greyhounds' advantage to eight points, 50-42, with 15:43 to play.
Wright made Moravian's first field goal of the second half at 15:33 but PSU-Behrend cut the lead to six points with a lay-up by senior guard Brittany Wilwohl at the 14:43 mark. The Greyhounds continued to struggle shooting from the floor to start the second half, as the squad opened one-for-16 before Jordan and O'Rourke hit back-to-back baskets, the latter at the 10:52 mark to push Moravian's lead to 56-46.
Sophomore guard Hannah Novotny hit a jumper 19 seconds later for the Lions to cut the lead back to eight but that would be the final time the Moravian advantage was below ten points for the rest of the game. Junior guard Amanda Kreuder hit a pair of lay-ups and a free throw to give the Greyhounds a 61-48 edge with 9:35 to go. Moravian would control the rest of the game, especially at the foul line where the Greyhounds were 12-for-14 in the second half and 15-for-17 for the game.
Moravian's shooting cooled off in the second half as the squad made ten-of-28 field goal attempts (35.7 percent) and missed both of its three-point attempts in the second half. The Greyhounds had 19 turnovers in the game while forcing the Lions into 25 turnovers. PSU-Behrend, which had a 39-37 edge in rebounds for the game, was 12-for-29 from the floor (41.4 percent), one-for-seven behind the three-point line and five-for-six at the foul line in the second half.
In addition to Blair, who also had three assists in the victory, Wright and O'Rourke each reached double figures for Moravian. Wright had 13 points, four assists, three steals and three rebounds while O'Rourke finished with 12 points, six rebounds, five steals and three assists. Jordan tossed in eight rebounds and grabbed four boards for the Greyhounds while Murray and Keruder each finished with seven points and two rebounds. Murray added three assists and two steals while Kreuder had two assists. Brogan and sophomore guard Alyssa Hann each had six points with Hann dishing out four assists.
Blair heads into the 111th game of her career ranked 19th in school history with 1,040 points, sixth with 718 rebounds and the school record holder with 312 blocked shots.
Junior guard Holly Bourquin led PSU-Behrend with 13 points, ten rebounds and two steals while Myers had nine points and six rebounds. Bayly also had nine points and five rebounds for the Lions while senior guard Kimmy Pol finished with seven points, seven rebounds and four steals. Wilwohl was held ten points under her scoring average with just six points in the game but she did dish out seven assists. Junior guard Aly Eagle tossed in six points for the Lions while sophomore guard Emily Deutsch contributed four points and five rebounds.
Moravian and Medaille will tip-off in the 2012 ECAC Division III South Championship game in Johnston Hall at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 4.