|Jaspers Knock Off Robert Morris In First Round of WBI|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Hosting a first round game in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) for the second straight season, the Manhattan College women's basketball team certainly looked right at home on Wednesday night. The eighth-seeded Jaspers (17-15) put together one of their most impressive offensive outings of the season to knock off top-seeded Robert Morris (18-14), 77-54, at Draddy Gymnasium and advance to the WBI quarterfinals for the second year in a row.
"We love this tournament," Head Coach John Olenowski said. "This is the second year in a row we won a home game. We were ready to play. The girls did a great job. They were very intense all game, and I couldn't be any happier about their performance tonight."
Manhattan never trailed in the contest. The teams traded baskets early on before Schyanne Halfkenny (Hyde Park, Mass.) scored five consecutive points to turn a 7-7 deadlock into a 12-7 Manhattan advantage. Robert Morris pulled within one at 12-11, but Lindsey Loutsenhizer (North Huntingdon, Pa.) responded with a trey on the other end to push the Jaspers' lead back to four at 15-11.
With the Jaspers leading 17-15 midway through the first, Nadia Peters (Bronx, N.Y.) hit a layup, then Monica Roeder (Marlton, N.J.) tallied seven straight points to increase Manhattan's advantage to 11, 26-15, at the 9:02 mark. The Colonials responded with a 6-2 run to get back within seven before an Alyssa Herrington (Cambridge, N.Y.) three-pointer started a 10-0 Manhattan spurt that increased the Jaspers' cushion to 17 points, 38-21, with 2:01 left before halftime. The Jaspers shot a scorching 55.2 percent (16-of-29) from the field and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from downtown in the opening 20 minutes and took a 41-23 advantage into the locker room.
It was more of the same early in the second half, as a Halfkenny jumper with 15:32 remaining gave the Jaspers a 50-32 lead. However, the Colonials responded with two three-pointers in a 35-second span to trim their deficit to 12 points, 50-38. Robert Morris eventually trimmed the margin to eight when Briannica Tye's layup made the score 54-46 with 7:43 to go.
The Colonials would get no closer, though, as Roeder drained a trey to start a 7-0 Manhattan rally that once again made it a 15-point game, 61-46. After Robert Morris scored the next four points to get back within 11, Roeder hit Herrington for a wide open trey from the top of the key. That bucket sparked a 16-4 Jaspers spurt over the final 4:25, turning the game into an easy win. Nicole Isaacs (Fair Haven, N.J.) drained a three with 47 seconds left to give Manhattan its largest lead of the game, 77-54, which ended up being the final.
"We did a really good job spreading the ball around," Olenowski said. "We also hit some key shots. It seemed like when they came back, we hit a couple of big threes. It was very balanced scoring, and we hit some really big baskets tonight."
Roeder led the way with 18 points, while Herrington, playing in her 100th career game, had 17 points and a career-high eight assists. Loutsenhizer added 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, and Halfkenny posted nine points and three assists. Toni-Ann Lawrence (Elmont, N.Y.) grabbed a career-high 12 boards, as Manhattan outrebounded Robert Morris 40-32. The Jaspers distributed a season-high 26 assists on 29 successful field goals, and every Manhattan starter had at least three assists. Manhattan shot 47.5 percent (29-of-61) from the field, including 43.5 percent (10-of-23) from three-point range, and didn't miss a free throw, going 9-for-9 at the line.
Mary Durojaye led the Colonials with 14 points and nine rebounds. Tye also had 14 points to go along with three assists and five steals, while Artemis Spanou, who came into the contest averaging 17.0 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, was held to 12 points and nine boards. Josette Campbell pulled down nine rebounds and added five assists, four steals and two blocks. Robert Morris shot 32.2 percent (19-of-59) from the field, but was held to just 15.4 percent (4-of-26) shooting from long range. The Colonials went 12-for-14 (85.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
The Jaspers now move on to the quarterfinals, where they'll face the winner of Thursday night's matchup between Holy Cross (18-14) and New Hampshire (16-13). The date, time and location of that contest will be determined once Manhattan knows its opponent.
NOTES: Manhattan played Robert Morris for the first time in program history...Colonials Head Coach Sal Buscaglia was the Jaspers' mentor from 1998-99 to 2002-03, and he led Manhattan to the NCAA Tournament in 2003...Manhattan improved to 3-1 all-time in the WBI, and knocked off the No. 1 seed in the East Region for the second straight year...This marked the first time that Manhattan played in a national postseason tournament in back-to-back seasons...The Jaspers went 4-0 against the Northeast Conference this season, with all four victories coming at Draddy Gymnasium...Lawrence's previous career-high was nine rebounds against Niagara on Jan. 8, 2011...Herrington's previous career-high in assists was seven against St. John's on Nov. 22, 2008...Ashley Stec (Cazenovia, N.Y.) chipped in a career-high seven points in 11 minutes off the bench...Manhattan is guaranteed to finish with a winning record for the second straight season.