The St. John Fisher College women's basketball program picked up its 22nd win of the season on Saturday, as the Cardinals came through with a 75-72 win over visiting Stevens Institute of Technology in the final regular-season game for both teams.
In a matchup between two of the top teams in the NCAA Division III East Region (Stevens entered the game ranked No. 4, while Fisher was ranked No. 6), the Cardinals used a 13-0 run over the closing moments in the second quarter and the first few minutes of the third quarter to collect its 11th straight win at home on Senior Day.
With the win, Fisher improves to 22-3 overall (22-2 against NCAA Division III programs) and 15-1 in the Empire 8, while Stevens falls to 19-6, 15-1. The two teams will share the Empire 8 Conference regular season title, but the Ducks will host next weekend's Empire 8 Championship after winning the Empire 8's fourth tie-breaker.
Fisher will be the No. 2 seed in Friday's Empire 8 semifinal matchup and will face No. 3 Ithaca College at Stevens (game time is TBA).
Senior Mary Kate Cusack, playing in the final regular-season home game of her career, tallied a team-high 24 points. Her sixth 3-pointer of the game came with 1:32 left, snapping a 68-68 tie and giving her team the lead for good. She also made two free throws with 1.4 seconds left for the game's final points.
In a highly-contested first half that featured four technical fouls (two by each team), Stevens led 36-30 with less than two minutes to go in the second quarter. Senior Claire Walsh drained a 3-pointer to start Fisher's run, while McKenzie Bezon's layup with 27 seconds remaining knotted the game at 36s at the half.
Fisher continued to turn up the defensive pressure in the second half, keeping the Ducks off the scoreboard over the first four minutes of third quarter, as the Cardinals built a seven-point lead.
Stevens went on a 7-0 run to start the four quarter and led 62-60 midway through the fourth before Fisher regained the lead. Walsh dropped her third 3-pointer of the game to put Fisher back up on top, while sophomore Caroline Robertson's three-point-play with just over three minutes left put the Cardinals up 68-64.
Robertson scored nine of her 13 points in the second half. She also led her team with six rebounds and five assists. Walsh finished with 13 points, while Emily Piacentini added nine points. Senior Bridget Carney grabbed five rebounds in the win as well.