* Playoff races are in full flight and Tuesday's games in the NE-10 and CACC were filled with post season implications. The report starts with a battle for second place in the NE-10 Northeast Division...
* Assumption led all the way in claiming a 55-46 win at St. Anselm to pull into a tie with the Hawks for second place in the NE-10 Northeast Division. Stingy defense staked the Greyhounds to a 30-12 halftime lead as they restricted St. A's to 5-25 first half shooting from the field in the first half. The hosts rallied to a degree in the fourth quarter, using a 9-0 start to the period to get within 43-34, and they came within six points later on but no closer. Jo Impellizeri (16 points, 8 rebounds), Allison Stoddard (11 points) and Abby McKanna (10 points, 7 rebounds) showed the way for AC as they out-shot the Hawks (39%-29% FG) and snapped a two-game slide. Clariee Putnam (11 points) and Candace Andrews (10 points, 5 assists, 5 steals) topped the Hawks effort but the halftime deficit was too much to overcome and they saw their three-game winning streak go by the boards.
* Merrimack never trailed in their 67-57 victory over Stonehill in North Andover, enough to get onto even ground with the Skyhawks for fifth place in the NE-10 Northeast Division. The Warriors held a modest 31-27 lead at the interval but blew the game open in the third period, rolling up a season-high 25 points in the frame to earn a 56-40 lead after three quarters. A 12-0 run imbedded into the stanza was key for Merrimack and they held a double digit lead for the entire fourth quarter. Savannah Johnson (18 points, 12 boards), Lindsay Warner (15 points, 5-6 3FG) and Karlee Alves (career-best 10 points) galvanized the Warriors while Samantha Hyslip (16 points) and Nicole Rojas (13 points, 7-7 FT) were the pick of the bunch for the Skyhawks. Stonehill was the better board team (39-31) and shot well at the line (18-19 FT) but fell prey to MC's more productive three-point effort (9-3) and never recovered from the Warriors third period burst.
* A back-and-forth affair at Moore Field House eventually went AIC's way as the Yellow Jackets grabbed an 80-75 NE-10 Southwest Division win over Southern Connecticut to consolidate second place. The Owls had a big lead early (17-3) and led by as many as fifteen points (30-15) when the teams swapped runs going into the half (AIC 10-0; SCSU 11-2). An 11-0 Jackets flurry brought them within 48-44 midway through the third quarter but they didn't go ahead again until they raced out of the gates with a 10-0 bomb to start the last period and claim a 65-58 edge (7:01). It turned out to be a lead they never lost, although the Owls closed the gap to 67-66 midway through the fourth quarter. AIC turned up the jets with a 7-1 spell (74-67, 1:04) to mail down the result. Dana Watts (17 points, 10 rebounds), Destine Perry (15 points), Imani Stepney (14 points, 15 boards) and Alyssa Guyon (14 points, 6 caroms) all played important roles for the Yellow Jackets, who ruled the glass (43-29) and shot a gaudy 24-33 at the line. Murphy Murad (21 points, 7-9 FG, 4-5 3FG), Maria Wesleyj (20 points, 4-6 3FG) and Taylor McLaughlin (16 points, 10 rebounds) led an Owl attack which lived on three-pointers (14-25 3FG) but struggled at the line (7-14 FT). SCSU has dropped three in a row and are tied for the final divisional playoff spot as a result of the defeat.
* A massive 32-5 run was the bedrock for Pace to snare a comeback win over LeMoyne in Pleasantville, 63-58, to climb into a tie for the final NE-10 Southwest Division playoff spot. The Dolphins had their way early (34-18 midway through the second period) and led by as many as eighteen points, 42-24, with 6:17 left in the third quarter. That triggered the Setter surge, which began with a 17-2 burst to cut the margin to 44-41 late in the third quarter (it was 47-41 at the end of it). Pace kept it going by scoring the first fifteen points of the fourth quarter to complete the 32-5 stretch over about a twelve minute span, and improbably led 56-47 with 5:24 to go. To LeMoyne's credit they fought back by notching the next seven points to get the margin down to 56-54 at the 3:58 mark. The Dolphins had three chances to tie in the final minute but missed three-pointers each time; Christina Rubin's two free throws for Pace with a second left created the final tally. Kirsten Dodge (20 points, 15 rebounds), Alexandra Monteleone (16 points, 9 boards) and Stefanie Svoboda (13 points) supplied the bulk of the Setter scoring as they overcame poor free throw accuracy (8-17 FT) with a +6 in turnovers (15-9). Joanna Dobrovosky (15 points, 11 boards), Ailayia Demand and Nicole Riddick (12 points each) topped LC but they had three-point shooting issues (5-26 3FG) and watched their four-game win streak end with the setback.
* Tianna Smith (26 points, 5 assists, 13-17 FT) and Zhane Robinson (15 points, 11 rebounds) led Bloomfield to their seventh win in a row, this one a 68-55 victory at Post to stay tied with Caldwell for first place in the CACC North. The Eagles led early on (18-12) but the Bears came back to take a 32-28 halftime lead. An 8-0 Post spree sent them back on top, 43-38, with 2:27 to go in the third quarter, only to see BC end the period on a 10-0 run to claim the lead for keeps (48-43). It was still a close game (56-52, 5:16) down the wire when Bloomfield finally shed the Eagles, a 12-2 sortie making it a 68-54 game into the final minute. Gabriela Middleton (11 points) and Taylor Ceballos (10 points) led the Eagle scoring. BC had the edge at the line (20-27 FT; Post 13-19 FT) and with the ball (20-13 in turnovers, leading to a 26-9 advantage in points-off-mistakes), enough to get the job done and officially eliminate Post from the playoff picture.
* Caldwell fell behind in the early going but 12-0, 10-0 and 10-0 runs gave them a hefty 50-27 halftime lead en route to an 82-60 victory at Nyack. The Cougars, on a four-game winning roll, were never threatened in the second half and handed the Warriors their eighth straight loss as well as ending their CACC North Division playoff hopes. Kristen Drogsler (26 points), Andie Lennon (14 points) and Antoinette Pilla (11 points) topped the Caldwell scoring but it was ballhandling and the long ball which was at the heart of their success. The Cougars forced a dozen more turnovers (22-10) and out-scored Nyack in points-off-TO's, 30-7, while also drilling 11-36 from three-point land. Torie Eggers netted 13 points for the Warriors, which did fare well on the glass (46-37).
* Concordia won an important game at Felician, 70-67, to put themselves in great shape to nail down the last CACC North Division playoff berth. The Clippers led 39-27 at halftime and by as many as fourteen points in the third quarter, which ended 58-47. It was still a 67-53 game with 6:28 to play in the game when the Golden Falcons stirred. Four three-pointers, three by Danelle Gibson (17 points, 5-9 3FG), gave Felician life, and the resulting 12-0 run brought them within a pair, 67-65, with 1:40 left. After two single Clipper foul shots, Kameron Stone scored with four ticks left to make it 69-67, but Julianne Wilkinson (23 points, 4-10 3FG) made another free throw to complete the scoring and save the Clippers blushes. Lyric Blanch (16 points) was also in double digits for Concordia, which out-shot Felician, 44%-33%. Marta Moix (18 points), Gibson, Marya Trapp (13 points, 14 boards) and Kristin Smith (8 points, 11 boards) led the Golden Falcons, as they shined on the boards (50-33) but not at the line (7-14 FT). Both teams had success from long distance (Felician 10-29 3FG; Concordia 9-22 3FG) but once the dust cleared, the Clippers had a three-game lead in the loss column over Felician for fourth place in the loop.
* The University of the Sciences was the only CACC road team to win on the night and they did it in their home city, prevailing at Philadelphia, 59-44. The Devils won their third in a row and twentieth overall game to stay a game-and-a-half ahead of Goldey-Beacom in the CACC South Division race. Sciences led 32-23 at the half but the Rams came out of the gate with a 13-4 third period jag to craft the game's only tie (36-36, 4:55). A 10-0 response put the Devils back ahead to stay (46-36) and they held the Rams to 2-14 shooting in the fourth period (and just six points) to secure the spoils. Alex Thomas (20 points, 9-14 FG) and Sarah Abbonizio (18 points, 9-10 FT) led the Sciences attack in a sub-par shooting game (Sciences, 39%-29%). Rachel Day topped the Rams with 14 points but they lost a chance to pull into a tie for fourth place in the division by dropping their second game in a row.
* Six double digit scorers (all between 10-19 points) was enough forChestnut Hill to record a 92-78 win at Georgian Court and get some elbow room in the battle for third place in the CACC South Division. An early 10-0 jaunt gave the Griffins a 22-15 lead in the first period and they held onto it, steadily building the margin to 50-37 at the half. Although the Lions stayed in range they never made a serious push at CHC in the second half as the gap stayed in double figures all the way. Vicky Tumasz (19 points, 7 rebounds), Shannon Glenn (18 points, 6 boards), Caity Kuhnen (14 points) and Nicole Parriski (13 points) led the CHC scoring but their star was Mary Trossi, who recorded her second (and the program's second) triple double, gathering 11 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Chestnut Hill shot 46% overall and made 10-17 from three-point land to aid their cause. GCU had five in double figures, paced by Alliyah Berger (24 points), Destiny Thompson (14 points, 14 rebounds), Jaelyn Tweedy (14 points) and Jada Atchison (10 points, 13 caroms), and they also shot well from the floor (44%) but not from deep (2-15 3FG). The Griffins have a one-game lead over Wilmington for the last CACC South playoff slot while the Lions have lost nine in a row and are out of the playoff chase.
* Holy Family shot a blazing 58.3% from the field to deal Wilmington a 90-57 CACC South Division setback and keep their playoff hopes alive. The Tigers, three games in the loss column behind the Wildcats for the final divisional playoff spot, led most of the way and arrived at the break with a 34-25 edge. HFU enjoyed a massive third period (34-13) to blow the game open (68-38) and coasted from there, snapping a two-game slide and ending the Wildcats' five-game win streak. Abigail Iannotti (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Casey Thomas (15 points, 10 boards) provided double-doubles to lead HFU while Jill Conroy (16 points, 8 dimes) and Casey Schweitzer (11 points) also had strong games. LaShyra Williams tossed in 20 points for Wilmington but their shooting stats (31% FG, 1-10 3FG) meant they had no chance to keep up with the Tigers. Oddly, Holy Family shot better from the field than at the line (15-27, 56%) but they did dish out 22 assists (to just four by the Wildcats) and held sway in Delaware.
* There was one non-league game on the night and it was a damaging result for St. Thomas Aquinas, which sustained a 61-47 loss at New Haven. The Spartans, in the mix in the upper reaches of the ECC, watched the Chargers close the first (10-1) and second periods (8-2) with purpose and as a result, UNH led 31-24 at the half. The Chargers opened the fourth quarter in a killer 10-0 binge, turning a 42-35 game into a 52-35 one (4:31) and snuffing out any STAC comeback hopes. Katia Oge (career-high 21 points; 10 rebounds) and Allieyah Cubbage (13 points, 12 boards) were at the helm for UNH, which grabbed more rebounds (52-41) and held the Spartans to just 25% from the field. Jenna Erickson (11 points) was the only STAC player to register double digits as their three-game winning spell came to an end.