Scranton bounces Johns Hopkins, 65-54 Loss marks second season Royals have sent Jays home from tournament

Division III women

March 16, 1997|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

SCRANTON, Pa. -- Scranton's furious man-to-man defense ended Johns Hopkins women's basketball team's hopes for a berth in the NCAA Division III Final Four.

The Blue Jays (25-2) never settled into their offense last night as Scranton took a 65-54 victory in the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Northeast Sectional final at the University of Scranton's John Long Athletic Center.

It was the second straight year that the Royals (28-3) have dismissed Hopkins from the NCAA tournament. Last year, the Royals won in the second round. This time, they advance to the Final Four for the second time in five years and will meet New York University on Friday at a site to be determined.

Making their first appearance in the final eight, the Blue Jays struggled with their offense the entire game. All-America forward Julie Anderson led the Blue Jays with 18 points. She had averaged 25 through the first three tournament games.

But the Jays had even more trouble in the backcourt, where Scranton held Angie Arnold, averaging 15.6 points a game, to seven. She hit just one of 10 from the field and added five second-half free throws.

"They did to our guards what we planned to do to them," said Hopkins coach Nancy Blank. "They turned it back on us. I think they played a better defensive game than we did."

Led by the quick trio of Jennifer Nish, Kelly Halpin and Erin Hurleman, the Royals forced 22 Blue Jays turnovers, twice as many as Hopkins gave up in Friday night's 76-66 semifinal victory over Western Connecticut State.

LTC The Blue Jays fell behind by as many as nine in the first half, but rallied with a 7-1 run to open the second half. Anderson hit a follow shot and Leslie Ritter fed Kelly Hamilton for a 12-footer and then hit a three-pointer to pull within 35-32.

Scranton answered with eight straight points and held Hopkins scoreless for 6: 25 and without a field goal for 8: 41.

"We tried to change a little bit of our defensive approach early in the half," said Blank, "because we were not stopping their penetration. We went to a little bit of a matchup and one of their shooters [Kate Dougherty] busted free and hit a three. All of a sudden it was a six-point game. That was a bit of a backbreaking moment, because we had some momentum at that point."

During that scoreless stretch, the Blue Jays never managed to get the ball into Anderson's hands.

"I give a lot of credit to their defense," said Anderson. "They play great man-to-man defense and they give great help, too. I don't think anything was focused on me, but they were ready for the cuts that I normally make. It was hard for me to get an open shot and the shots I was taking were not the best selected."

Shooting troubles plagued the entire team as the Jays hit just 29 percent from the field. Marjahna Segers was the only Jay other thanAnderson to reach double figures. She scored 11 and had 15 rebounds.

Anderson was named to the all-tournament team along with Scranton's Dougherty and Hurleman, Western Connecticut's Amy Matthews and Southern Maine's Tracy Libby.

For Hopkins, the loss closes out a history-making season that included the most wins in school history (25) and an undefeated Centennial Conference regular season.

Anderson, the program's first Kodak All-American last year, is among the finalists for this year's honors, as is Arnold.

Pub Date: 3/16/97

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