Friday women: Hawk-a-mania

Jade Aponte and Hunter raced past Brooklyn in the fourth quarter of the CUNYAC title game and into the NCAA Tournament.
Photo by Simon Lee, Hunter Athletics

Friday was a great day to be a Hawk in New York, but a bad one to be a higher seed in the ODAC tournament. Plus Mary Hardin-Baylor denied East Texas Baptist again as championship weekend tipped off.

Hunter dethroned Brooklyn in the CUNYAC and punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 76-65 victory at home. Hunter errupted for 33 points in the fourth quarter, including a 13-0 run that gave the Hawks the lead for good. After Brooklyn pulled within two on an Alexandra Moogan three-pointer, the Hawks ripped off nine straight points to put the game away.

CUNYAC Player of the Year Jade Aponte tallied 19 points, seven steals and four assists while Janine Conway scored 24 points for Hunter. The Hawks will head to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.

Two more New York-based Hawks also grabbed victories in their conference tournaments. Hartwick eliminated Stevens from the Empire 8 semifinals, 72-52, thanks to a near triple-double by Mary Schoenherr (eight points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists). Rachel Simon made three free throws in the final 40 seconds of SUNY New Paltz's game against Brockport, and the Hawks held off the Golden Eagles, 70-67.

UW-Whitewater kept its up-and-down season going with a 53-51 win over No. 25 UW-La Crosse in the WIAC semifinals. Camri Conley scored with 3.8 seconds left to lift the Warhawks to victory. Whitewater began the season in the Top 25; fell out of the rankings and lost three of its first four conference games; won nine straight games; and then lost the regular season finale to 10-15 River Falls.

On Sunday the Warhawks will play No. 14 Oshkosh for the WIAC's automatic bid. The Titans shut out Stout for the final 4-plus minutes of their semifinal and rallied past the Blue Devils, 61-58.

The ODAC tournament had two overtime games, two games decided by one basket, and lost its top two seeds in a thrilling day at the Salem (Va.) Civic Center.

The quarterfinals started with a stunning upset as Shenandoah (14-13) dumped top-seed Guilford 52-49 in overtime. Sierra St. Cyr scored the game-winning bucket with five seconds left in overtime. Roanoke got 37 points from its reserves, including 15 from Ayanna Scarborough and 14 from Renee Alquiza, and the Maroons sank No. 23 Emory and Henry, 73-72. Washington and Lee and Randolph-Macon advanced as higher seeds, but not by much. The Generals edged Lynchburg 79-77 and the Yellow Jackets outlasted Virginia Wesleyan 72-66 in overtime.

Emory and Henry is a lock to receive an at-large bid, but Guilford likely will not as the Quakers sat ninth in this week's NCAA regional rankings. 

Last season East Texas Baptist ended Mary Hardin-Baylor's season by beating the Crusaders in the ASC tournament final. Tonight the Crusaders turned the tables and likely ended the Tigers' season, as Mary Hardin-Baylor beat ETBU 64-62 at the buzzer. The Cru trailed by two in the final minute until D'Ashaih Williams's basket tied the game. The Tigers turned the ball over on their next possession, the Crusaders ran down the clock and Williams hit a jumper as time expired.

Despite being nationally ranked throughout the season, East Texas Baptist is unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers dropped out of the South region rankings last week and would sit behind at least five teams in their own region for an at-large bid.

No. 10 Hope earned another shot at No. 5 Trine as the Flying Dutch and Thunder advanced through the MIAA semifinals with ease. Hope rolled past St. Mary's (Ind.) 75-36 and Trine took care of Alma, 79-43. The CCIW title game will have a similar matchup. No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan defeated Carthage 78-59 and will get a third chance to beat No. 21 Wheaton (Ill.) since the Thunder beat North Park 68-56. CCIW Most Outstanding Player Hannah Frazier had 26 points nine rebounds, five assists and five blocks for Wheaton.

Ripon scored the final 11 points of its MWC semifinal matchup with St. Norbert and defeated the Green Knights, 44-40. Maggie Oimeon had a double-double for the Red Hawks. St. Norbert head coach Connie Tilly, who announced that this season would be her last, concluded her career with a record of 693-312 in 42 seasons.

Juliana Clark's jump shot with 22 seconds left was the difference as Haverford edged Johns Hopkins 43-41 in the Centennial Conference semifinal. The Fords will play Gettysburg, which cruised past Ursinus 74-51.