NEW PALTZ, NY – The sensational season of the Hartwick women's basketball team came to a heartbreaking end on Friday night in New Paltz, as the Hawks came close but could not overcome a seven-point fourth quarter deficit to Emmanuel College in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, ultimately falling 69-65. Hartwick, in their first NCAA Tournament since 2014, finishes at 23-5, tied for the second-most wins in a season in program history. Emmanuel is now 24-5, and plays the winner of Rutgers-Newark and SUNY New Paltz tomorrow for a chance to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
'Wick jumped out to a quick start. They were up 1-0 before the game even began thanks to a pregame infraction from Emmanuel, resulting in a made free throw from Caitlin Corbett (Altamont, NY/Guilderland). She got the action started the right way as well, dropping a pass from Mary Schoenherr (Unionville, CT/Farmington) into the hoop to make the score 3-0. Threes from Kelly Pine (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls) and Corbett (with an Emmanuel bucket in between) followed by a Schoenherr steal and lay-up put the Hawks up 11-2 just 1:58 into the game. The score stayed steady, with Hartwick still leading by nine, at 19-10, with 3:35 left in the quarter. The Saints fought back, however, scoring the next six points to narrow their deficit to four. Corbett later knocked down another three to bump the lead back to six, and 'Wick led by that margin after one, 26-20. Corbett had a tremendous first quarter, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 2-of-4 from three.
Emmanuel came right at Hartwick to begin the second quarter, using three Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda baskets in a row to tie up the game at the 8:18 mark. The Saints took a 29-28 lead on a three-pointer a few possessions later, but the Hawks scored the next six to regain a five-point lead. The back-and-forth game continued, as Emmanuel potted six straight, once again taking the lead, 35-34. Of course, 'Wick scored the next two on a pair of Pine free throws, going back in front, but two more lay-ups from the Saints put them up heading into the half, 39-36.
Maggie Kirby (Selkirk, NY/Bethlehem) got the scoring started in the second half, pulling the Hawks to within one on a lay-up. After an answer from Emmanuel's Mary McCarthy, Carly Johnson (Greenville, NY/Greenville Central) tied it up at 41 with a triple. The score stayed steady for a while, the two teams trading buckets. The Saints went up 47-43 with 6:38 remaining in the third, but lay-ups by Molly Kirby (Selkirk, NY/Bethlehem) and Johnson sealed the score back up at 47-all. Ramirez-Tejeda quickly grabbed the lead back with a lay-up 41 seconds later, and extended the lead to four with another two points in the final half-minute. Headed into the fourth, Emmanuel led, 51-47.
Johnson pulled the Hawks to within a bucket on the first possession of the final ten minutes, sinking a baseline jumper. Emmanuel responded, bringing the lead back to four, and eventually enlarged their lead to seven on a Maddie McLaughlin three-pointer with 7:47 on the clock and the score at 58-51. Maggie Kirby brought the game back to two possessions 20 seconds later, putting back a missed three-pointer, which was immediately followed by a timeout from Hartwick coach Katie Marcella. Schoenherr answered the call with a steal and a jumper to cut the deficit to three, and 'Wick forced Ramirez-Tejeda out of bounds on the next possession for a turnover. Kirby and Schoenherr connected a few possessions later, as Kirby laid in a Schoenherr dime to make the score 58-57 with 4:41 remaining. Two McCarthy free throws gave Emmanuel another three-point lead, and after a few 'Wick misses, Ramirez-Tejeda gave her team a 62-57 lead with 2:38 left. Schoenherr again made it a one-possession game with 1:05 on the clock, sinking a jumper, but the Saints' Caitlin Cipriano immediately got one to fall on the other end, and Emmanuel took a timeout up, 64-59, with 40.4 ticks remaining. 'Wick had a couple inopportune turnovers in the last minute of play, and the Saints made enough of their free throws to keep the game out of reach, despite three-pointers from Johnson and Molly Kirby in the final 23 seconds.
Five different Hawks were between 10 and 13 points, the team-high. Corbett had 13 points and a tie for the team-high with two steals in the last game of her career, as well as eight rebounds, tied for the second-most on the team. Pine registered her fourth double-double of the year, with a season-high 15 boards and 11 points. Schoenherr was not too far off from a triple-double, scoring 10 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out seven assists. Johnson had 12 points and two blocks in the final collegiate game of her accomplished career, and Maggie Kirby was the final double-digit scorer with 12 points and five rebounds.
Emmanuel outshot Hartwick, 40.9% to 34.7%. Neither team fared all that well from beyond the arc; the Hawks had a slight advantage with a 22.2% three-point field goal percentage compared to the Saints' 18.2%, although 'Wick missed 21 threes to Emmanuel's nine. The rebounding battle was tight, as the squad from Boston led by one, 47-46. Hartwick had 16 offensive rebounds to Emmanuel's 14, and the teams were tied in second chance points at 14. Neither team turned the ball over all that much, with the Saints giving the ball up 10 times to 'Wick's 13. Emmanuel had a slight lead in points off of turnovers, 10 to 8.
Ramirez-Tejeda starred as usual for her team, putting up a game-high 25 points on 12-of-21 shooting as well as a team-high 13 rebounds. McCarthy was the only other Saint in double-digits, scoring 14 points on a tidy 6-of-9 from the field, also grabbing six boards and blocking a game-high three shots. Cipriano had eight rebound as well as four points and two blocks.
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