|The Thomas More Saints are the 2015 Division III women's basketball champions.
Photo by Steve Frommell, d3photography.com
Thomas More ran through George Fox's trademark press and ran away with the 2015 Division III womens basketball championship, 83-63.
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Thomas More broke the press early and often and built a 33-21 halftime advantage. Saints' forward Alexa Santamaria scored 10 first half points on 5-for-5 shooting and Sydney Moss had eight points, 10 rebounds and five assists at the break. For the second straight night, the Bruins struggled offensively in the first half, shooting 25 percent from the field and 2-for-6 from the free throw line.
George Fox had more success in the second half with Justine Benner attacking the rim and scoring 16 of her 20 points in the second half. The Bruins closed within eight with 12 minutes to play, but Olivia Huber answered with a three pointer, just her third of the season. Abby Owings hit a three from 24 feet out to put the Saints up 25 with six minutes to play and effectively put the game away.
Moss capped her incredible season with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, notching what she says is the first triple-double of her career. Abby Owings finished with 17 points, but more importantly handled the George Fox press and created foul trouble for Bruins' starting point guard Jami Morris. Nikki Kiernan added 16 points and six rebounds.
Benner scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds for George Fox (32-1) and Sammy Naluai added 13 points off the bench.
Thomas More (33-0) is the first team from the Presidents' Athletic Conference to capture a Division III women's basketball title and the third team in a row to do so without a loss.
Melissa Tobie and Janitza Aquino combined for 39 points as Montclair State defeated Tufts 56-48 in the third place game. Tobie grabbed the 1,000th rebound of her career, making her the 15th player in Division III women's basketball history to notch 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Moss, who set a new NCAA tournament scoring record with 197 points, was named the Tournament's Most Oustanding Player. She was joined on the All Tournament team by Owings, Benner, Tobie and Tufts forward Michela North.