Elmira College Cruises to 63-32 Win over Keystone in Opening Game of Max Ziel Tournament

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Score: Elmira College 63, Keystone College 32
Records: Elmira (2-0), Keystone (0-2)
Location: Max Ziel Gymnasium -- Oswego, N.Y.

OSWEGO, N.Y. -- The Elmira College women's basketball team showcased an all-around performance to best Keystone College by a 63-32 final score in the opening game of the Max Ziel Tournament, hosted by Oswego State, on Friday evening in Oswego, New York. EC was led by the two-way performance from Rachel Vespucci '19, who finished the night with 15 points and 14 rebounds, her second straight double-double.

Elmira really hit the ground running defensively in the bout, as they held Keystone scoreless for the first 5:03. It would take another 4:15 for the Giants to score their second field goal of the contest. At this point, however, the Soaring Eagles were already flying high, as they had taken a nine-point advantage, 13-4. A 3-pointer by Danielle Cleary '18 as time expired gave EC a 13-point advantage, 17-4, heading into the second. Offensively, Cleary led the way, as she tallied 8 points in the first to lead both teams.

This strong play carried over into the second quarter, as the Purple and Gold took an 18-point lead, 34-16, into the halftime break. In total, the Giants shot just 17.9 percent in the first half on 7-for-39 shooting from the field. From 3-point range, Keystone went 1-for-12 (8.3 percent). Elmira, on the other hand, was able to pull away with its ability to get to the foul line. EC recorded 16 free throws in the first 20 minutes, compared to the Giants' five.

The second half mirrored the first, as the Soaring Eagles outscored Keystone, 29-16. In the half, Vespucci really shined with six points and 10 rebounds. Emily Green '18 and Sally Hogan '19 also made their presences known in the second half, as the pair finished tied with Vespucci with six points apiece.

In total, the Purple and Gold finished the contest 20-for-63 from the field (31.7 percent), while the Giants went just 11-for-66 (16.7 percent). EC also held a large advantage in made free throws, 21-to-9. Vespucci and Cleary finished tied with a game-high 15 points. Vespucci also ended the contest with a game-high 14 boards, a season high for the junior.
In Their Own Words…
 Head Coach Shannon Howley shared her general thoughts about tonight's big win...
"Defensively we were good. We kept them in front for the most part and made them take jump shots. In the second, we were able to dominate on the glass. Being able to defend and rebound really helped us, as we didn't have the greatest shooting night."
Coach Howley on Rachel Vespucci's performance in tonight's contest…
"Rachel did a little bit of everything for us tonight. She worked really hard, battled on the boards and got to the free-throw line. I was happy with how she played."
News and Notes

  • Elmira improved to 2-0 on the young season.
  • The Soaring Eagles have not started a campaign 2-0 since the 1998-99 season, a year in which they finished with a 21-7 record.
  • Keystone's 32 points are the lowest by an EC opponent since Penn College tallied just 23 against the Purple and Gold on November 29, 2016.
  • Elmira's 53 rebounds tonight are the most that it has recorded since it came down with 63 boards in a 69-50 win over Wells on January 26, 2017.
  • EC's 13 steals tonight are also the most that it has tallied since it posted 13 in a 64-52 win over Alfred on January 19, 2017.
  • With 15 points and 14 rebounds tonight, Vespucci has posted a double-double in both games this season.
  • Cleary chipped in a career-best five steals on the defensive end of the court.
  • Hogan recorded a new career high with 10 points and tied a career-best mark with five boards.
  • Lauren Franklin '20 dished out a career-high four assists tonight and tied a career best with four steals.
  • Lindsey Heaton '19 tied a career high with seven rebounds.

Up Next
The Soaring Eagles will next challenge the host Lakers of Oswego State tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. The bout, which will crown a champion of the Max Ziel Tournament, will take place at the Lakers' Max Ziel Gymnasium.