* Regular season play finished on Tuesday in the Northeast-10 and CACC last night with a few lingering playoff questions answered. Seven of the thirteen games had conference tournament implications attached and we will start the report with the jousts for the final places in the CACC South Division and the Northeast-10 Northeast Division...
* Philadelphia won the 'do-or-die' game in the CACC South Division over Wilmington, 81-74, to secure its place in the playoffs and will now have the chance to defend their 2016 crown. The Rams led for the entire second half but had to fend off a few Wildcat runs to get the job done which they did thanks to good shooting across the board (48% FG, 8-18 3FG, 19-23 FT) and solid board work (43-34). Philadelphia held a 34-30 halftime edge and extended it to a 55-42 lead after a 12-4 third period burst. They led 55-44 at the final turn, only to see Wilmington whittle the gap to 62-57 at the 4:00 mark thanks to an 8-0 spurt. The Rams stanched the Wildcat momentum with the next five points and, although Wilmington came within six points in the final minute, the game was theirs. Rachel Day (19 points), Alynna Williams (18 points, 6 assists), Jessica Kaminski (17 points, 9-12 FT) and Erin Rafter (11 points, 14 caroms) shared the load for the winners, who overcame a poor day with the ball (22 turnovers) to extend their season. Jasmine Lee (18 points, 5 rebounds), LaShyra Williams (17 points, 5 boards), Macy Robinson (14 points, 6 caroms, 5 assists) and Emma Matthews (11 points) topped the Wildcat effort, one that had a big advantage in points-off-turnovers (21-10) but didn't shoot as well as their opponent (40% FG, 7-10 FT). Philadelphia will visit CACC North Division winner Caldwell in the league quarterfinals on Saturday.
* Stonehill emulated Philadelphia by handing St. Michael's a 71-55 setback in North Easton to secure the last NE-10 Northeast Division playoff spot. The Skyhawks led virtually all the way (only trailing once, 2-0) and used a 12-2 burst to end the first half with a 33-20 advantage. Their lead crested at 61-39 in the second half as they never let the Purple Knights put together a serious run at them. Samantha Hyslip (18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists), Maty Diabate (14 points, 8 boards), Nicole Rojas and Kelsey Shaw (11 points each) split the duties for the Skyhawks as they ruled the glass (51-32), dominated in second-chance points (26-9) and out-shot SMC, 44%-35%. Indira Evora (career-high tying 23 points) and Samantha Delaney (15 points) supplied the bulk of the St. Michael's scoring but they lost their last four games to fall out of playoff reckoning. Stonehill actually earned the #4 seed by virtue of Merrimack's loss and will get to host a Friday night first round home game against Southern Connecticut.
* Bentley slipped past Merrimack, 59-53, in North Andover, to complete their regular season on a twelve-game winning streak and consign the Warriors to a road game in the upcoming NE-10 first round playoffs. MC had already wrapped up a playoff spot before the contest but a win would have allowed them to host a game. They gave the Falcons all they could handle here, taking a 30-28 lead early in the third period after opening the stanza on a 10-2 flurry. Bentley recovered to claim a 41-36 lead after three frames but only took the lead for good thanks to a Trevena Bennett four-point play at the 7:51 mark of the fourth quarter (47-43). MC chipped the lead down to two points a few times thereafter, the final occasion at 55-53 with 1:53 left. Macchi Smith (career-high 12 rebounds) closed it out for the Falcons with a pair of steals and four free throws in the last 26 seconds. Jen Gemma (23 points; 13 rebounds, 11 of them offensive) and Lauren Green (14 points) spearheaded a Falcon offense that claimed thirteen more rebounds (55-42, including 23 offensive caroms) and out-shot Merrimack at the line (Bentley 15-22 FT; MC 6-9 FT). Lexi Martin (12 points), Hannah Neild (10 points, 4-5 FG) and Denia Davis-Stewart (6 points, 14 rebounds, 8 rejections) led the Warrior stat sheet in a game that had seven ties and eight lead changes. These teams could meet in the NE-10 quarterfinals on Sunday, since Bentley will host the winner of Friday's game between Merrimack and Pace in Pleasantville.
* The clash for fourth place in the NE-10 Southwest Division (and a home playoff game) went Pace's way, as the Setters handed Southern Connecticut a 63-57 defeat in New Haven. Another close game (four ties, seven lead swaps and a difference of no more than ten points) tilted in the Setters favor thanks to superior shooting (48%-27%) FG) and a late 9-2 run. Pace led 31-26 at the half and stretched it to 40-30 midway through the third period before the Owls rallied and eventually took a 48-47 lead with 6:03 to play in the game. The last tie of the night came with 4:15 on the clock (52-52) but the Setters snapped that with a trio of three-pointers in the aforementioned 9-2 run, two by Alexandra Monteleone (10 points, 5 boards) and another from Jacklyn Oskam (15 points, 3-4 3FG off the bench). When it was done Pace held a 61-54 edge with 1:25 left. Maria Wesleyj (16 points, 4-10 3FG) sank a triple to trim the gap to 61-57 (:43) but SCSU didn't score again. The Owls survived on a diet of turnovers forced (20-5 in their favor, leading to a hefty 23-3 plus in points-off-miscues) but couldn't quite muster the offense to prevail. Christina Rubin (14 points off the pine), Jackie Dellisanti (11 points, 7 boards) and Kirsten Dodge (12 rebounds) also chipped in nicely for the Setters, who will enter the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. They host Merrimack while SCSU, led by Taylor McLaughlin (27 points, 12 rebounds, 9-12 FT) and Wesleyj, will visit Stonehill in first round games on Friday.
* Caldwell officially nailed down the CACC North Division title with an 82-68 decision over Concordia and will tote an eight-game winning skein into the playoffs. The Cougars established the lead for good with a late 14-0 second period surge (it was 33-26 at the interval) and pulled away in the third period. A 10-2 spell made it a 48-35 game (3:17 of the third frame) and a 12-0 fourth quarter sortie buried the Clippers. Antoinette Pilla (25 points, 5-9 3FG) was the main Caldwell weapon while Andie Lennon (15 points) and Sharell Sanders (12 points, 7 rebounds) added quality depth. Julianne Wilkinson (24 points), Jessica Rosalbo (10 points, 7 caroms), Nicole Nicholson (10 points) and Hadiyah Black (7 points, 15 rebounds) keyed the Clippers. Caldwell was the better team in most areas, especially shooting (47%-38% FG), three-pointers (11-5) and ball-handling (21/11 assist/turnover ratio to Concordia's 13/19 totals). The Cougars welcome Philadelphia to town for the CACC playoffs on Saturday while Concordia travels to CACC South Division kingpin, the University of the Sciences.
* Bloomfield kept the pressure on Caldwell to win in order to take the CACC North Division title and they did so, dealing Dominican a 67-59 defeat to enter the playoffs on a high note. A 10-0 spree in the third period broke open a close game (40-31) and the Bears put their foot down with an 8-0 binge to kick off the fourth period (54-39, 5:00). The Chargers stayed nominally in range but never made a real run at the BC lead. Tianna Smith (21 points) and Zhane Robinson (14 rebounds) were sharp for the Bears, who dominated the backboards (48-26) and overhauled the Chargers at the line (BC 17-23; DC 5-10 FT) to help their cause. Jacqueline Rywalt (11 points, 7 assists), Rebecca Rabeiro (11 points), Stefani Alston (10 points, 8 boards) and Jasmine Gee (10 points) topped the Charger effort, one that flourished in the turnover game (+10, 23-13; 22-9 in points-off-turnovers) but came up short elsewhere. Bloomfield will host Chestnut Hill in the CACC playoffs on Saturday while Dominican heads to Goldey-Beacom for their playoff assignment.
* The trio of Lexi Bruno (triple-double of 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds), Britani Bryson (28 points; 14-17 FG) and Amanda McGrogan (career-high 27 points; 6-7 3FG, 9-11 FT) carried Goldey-Beacom to an 89-72 win at Chestnut Hill and locked up the #2 seed in the CACC South Division in the process. The Lightning won all four quarters but the Griffins made their presence felt and stayed in the game all the way. GBC assumed the lead for good with an 8-0 spurt to end the first half ahead, 41-36, Bruno making three-pointers to begin and end the flourish. The Lightning kept CHC on its heels in the second half and slowly built the lead from there. GBC shot a crisp 51% overall and canned 12-24 from three-point land and will host Dominican in the CACC tournament on Saturday. Bruno's 3D was only the third in CACC history, coming on the heels of a pair of them crafted by Griffin Mary Trossi this season. Five Griffins recorded double digits, led by Shannon Glenn (14 points, 6 boards) and Vicky Tumasz (14 points), but their shooting (42% FG, 7-21 3FG) couldn't hold up to Goldey-Beacom's. The Griffins, the #3 seed in the CACC South, will travel to Bloomfield in the league playoffs on Saturday.
* It may not have had an effect on NE-10 Southwest Division playoff places but AIC's 54-51 win over Adelphi in Springfield felt like March basketball. The Yellow Jackets won it thanks to Destine Perry's top-of-the-key three-pointer at the horn, capping a hard-fought clash (nine ties and thirteen lead changes) during which neither team led by more than eight points. That margin was a Panther 35-27 lead early in the third quarter but AIC answered with a 17-5 spell to end the period and take a 44-40 lead into the last frame. Sierra Clark (17 points, 13 rebounds) gave AU a 51-49 edge late (2:07) but Dana Watts (23 points, 11 boards, her 18th double-double of the season) tied it at the 1:14 mark with a pair of free throws. The next and last score was Perry's trey, ending Adelphi's five-game winning streak and extending AIC's to four in a row. Calli Balfour and Julia Gnieser tossed in 11 points each for AU and most team stats were close with only AIC's +10 on the glass (39-29) truly separating the teams. Both will host NE-10 quarterfinal games on Sunday with Adelphi welcoming the Stonehill/Southern Connecticut winner and AIC facing St. Anselm.
* Assumption will enter the NE-10 playoffs on a five-game win skein, the latest victory a 68-49 decision over Franklin Pierce in Worcester. The Greyhounds put together a 17-2 bomb spanning the halves (8-0 and 9-2) to open a 43-25 lead midway through the third quarter. A nice Raven response (10-0) cut the margin to 43-35 but AC went on an 8-0 run bridging the last two periods to restore the lead to 51-35. The gap remained in double digits thereafter for the Greyhounds as they claimed second place in the Northeast Division outright. Allison Stoddard (20 points, 4-10 3FG), Kelly Carey (11 points, 6 assists), Jo Impellizeri (10 points, 11 boards, 6 assists) and Kiera O'Donnell (14 rebounds) did the heavy lifting for Assumption, which made 11-26 from deep, 11-12 at the line and posted a +19 (47-28) on the glass. Dana Campbell (21 points) provided the offense for FPU but they didn't have the firepower to stay with AC in the key moments. The Greyhounds will host LeMoyne in the NE-10 playoffs on Sunday.
* St. Anselm won their local scrap with Southern New Hampshire, 69-60, and will be the #3 Northeast Division seed in the upcoming NE-10 playoffs. The Hawks led from start-to-finish here, establishing a 36-25 halftime bulge and pushing the gap to 64-46 midway through the fourth period. A 10-0 Penmen rally cut the deficit to 64-56 (2:20) but St. A's stabilized and held on to ensure the win. Caitlyn Abela (21 points, 4-7 3FG), Kaila Duarte (18 points, 14 rebounds), Clairee Putnam (14 points) and Candace Andrews (10 points and 13 assists, the latter tying the program mark for helpers in a contest) were all sharp for the Hawks, who bettered the Penmen in assists (22-9) despite both committing 17 turnovers. Kylie Lorenzen (15 points, 10 rebounds) was the only SNHU player to reach double digits on the evening. St. Anselm has a playoff date at AIC on Sunday in the NE-10 quarterfinals.
* A big third quarter was the ticket for LeMoyne in their 55-48 win over New Haven in Syracuse, meaning the Dolphins have finished 10-10 in NE-10 play four straight seasons. This was a close one in the first half (LC led 28-27 at the intermission) but the Dolphins netted the first ten points of the third quarter to take control. They ended it with a 7-1 stretch, making 8-14 shots in the frame while UNH went just 2-11. The resulting 49-32 lead was too much for the Chargers to overcome and although they held LC to only six points in the final stanza, the hole was too deep to climb out of and they came up short. Joanna Dobrovosky (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Nicole Riddick (12 points) led the way for LC while Katia Oge (9 points, 9 rebounds) and Alexandria Kerr (9 points, 8 boards) topped UNH's list. LeMoyne shot better (42%-31%), balancing off New Haven's +11 on the glass (43-32), ending a three-game slide as they go into the NE-10 playoffs. The Dolphins, the #3 seed in the Southwest Division, travel to Assumption for their Sunday quarterfinal tilt.
* Nyack ended their season on a high note, beating Felician (also ending their campaign), 72-60, at Bowman Gym. The Warriors built a 35-26 halftime lead and came out of the half on an 11-2 spree to make it a 46-28 game. Felician tried to rally and came within eight points after that but that was as close as it got. Tayelor McCalister (19 points, 6 assists), Bryanna Brown (15 points, 16 steals), Yamalis Villegas (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Kelli Smoot (10 points) all chipped in for the Warriors as they out-shot the Golden Falcons (41%-30% FG) and got to the line a ton (21-32 FT). Marya Trapp (16 points, 12 rebounds) and Kameron Stone (11 points, 7 rebounds) sparked Felician, as they were +10 on the glass (50-40) but didn't shoot well (4-24 3FG, 14-25 FT) in any capacity.
* Georgian Court wrapped up their season with a noteworthy result, a 72-65 win at Holy Family, the first time the Lions have knocked off the Tigers in 36 tries going back to 1999. Alliyah Berger (21 points, 12 rebounds), Jada Atchison (15 points, 6 assists) and Jaelyn Tweedy (14 points) led the charge for GCU, which took the lead for keeps with an 11-2 spell late in the first half (31-24 at the break). The teams played the second half evenly (13-13 and 28-28 in the last two quarters) with GCU holding off various Tiger runs. The closest Holy Family came was 67-65 with 1:14 left after a Casey Thomas (12 points) basket but an Atchison hoop and three foul shots from Berger in the last fifteen seconds iced the result. Jill Conroy (17 points), Abigail Iannotti (15 points) and Casey Schweitzer (12 points, 8 boards) were among the most productive Tigers. Three-point shooting (GCU 10-21; HFU 2-12 3FG) proved to be the most glaring statistical difference between the teams, both putting the wrap on their campaigns.