POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (February 18, 2014) – The Vassar College women's basketball team shook off a seven-point, first-half deficit by outscoring visiting Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute by 23 in the second stanza to pull away for an 80-64 Liberty League win in action from the Athletics and Fitness Center (AFC) Tuesday.
Things didn't start out well for the Brewers (19-4, 12-2 Liberty League), who trailed by as much as 12 with 8:04 to play in the first half after a layup by Amanda Lynch. Vassar College rattled off a 13-2 run over a span of just under four minutes to pull to within one at 30-29. RPI (7-16, 5-9 Liberty League) pushed its lead back up to nine, and settled with a 45-38 halftime advantage.
The Engineers were able to grow their lead in the first half due to pinpoint shooting from downtown, making eight of their 12 shots from deep. RPI's Ashley Clough had 17 points in the opening stanza, while Hannah Senftleber (Burlington, VT/Burlington) chalked up a near double-double of 10 points and nine rebounds for Vassar.
The second half was a completely different story, as Vassar College clamped down on the defensive end, holding RPI to just 20 percent (7-35) in the closing frame. The Brewers held RPI to just three successful field goals over the first 13:03 of the closing half, going from being down seven to being up eight.
Vassar continued to build on to its lead, sporting the contest's largest advantage of 18 with 2:20 to go in the game after a layup by Michelle Foreman (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central).
The last couple of minutes did see a special site though, as senior Cydni Matsuoka (Sacramento, CA/John F. Kennedy) hit a pair of free throws, her final points at home in a regular season game. During her career, Matsuoka has scored 776 regular season points in the AFC, the most of any player ever for Vassar.
Matsuoka chalked up 21 points and 10 assists for her fourth double-double of the season, grabbing five rebounds and three steals as well. Senftleber contributed her eighth game with a double-double, contributing 21 points and 15 rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
Vassar also got 10 points off the bench from Foreman, as all eight players that dressed for the Brewers tallied at least four points. Junior Allyson Pemberton (Weston, MA/Weston) booked seven points, six boards and three steals, and Rose Serafini (Milton, Ontario, Canada/Milton Area) had eight boards and four blocks in 14 minutes for VC.
The Brewers knocked down 31 of their 76 field goals Tuesday, connecting on 40.8 percent from the floor. This season, Vassar College is now 13-0 when shooting above the 40 percent threshold. VC also controlled the boards, earning a 54-42 edge on the glass, and made 16-of-20 from the charity line.
RPI got 19 points from Clough, though only two of those were scored after halftime. Courtney Reynolds posted 16 points and Lynch logged 10 points for Rensselaer, who connected on 10-of-20 from deep but just 12-of-47 (25.5 percent) from inside the arc. The Engineers also made just half of their 20 attempts from the charity stripe.
Vassar College will now head to St. Lawrence University Friday at 6 p.m. for the biggest game of the season thus far. If the Brewers earn a win Friday night against the Saints, they will clinch the top seed in the Liberty League Tournament, which comes with home court advantage throughout.