Wagner trips Mount short of summit, 61-57

Mountaineers fail to reach final for 2nd year in row

Northeast women

March 05, 2000|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

TRENTON, N.J -- A little more understandable this time, but no less painful, the Mount St. Mary's women's basketball team was again upset in the Northeast Conference semifinals yesterday, falling to Wagner, 61-57, at Sovereign Bank Arena.

This was the second straight season that the second-seeded Mountaineers fell short of the conference final.

"We struggled most of the season to play to our potential, and it caught up to us tonight," Mount coach Vanessa Blair said. "We had lapses with upperclassmen who should have pulled through stronger than they should have."

Aside from Kia Williams (17 points) and Deanna Butters (24 points), the Mountaineers made six field goals for the game, missing layups while getting out-rebounded by the Seahawks 56-44.

Also doing itself in with 15 turnovers and 1-for-13 shooting from the three-point line, the Mount couldn't lean on senior forward Megan Gardiner for help.

NEC's Player of the Year in 1999, Gardiner -- who was sidelined for seven games during the regular season with a right-knee injury -- re-injured the knee during the first half of Friday's win over Fairleigh Dickinson. But Blair wouldn't use that as an excuse.

"It's not a matter of talent," Blair said. "We have the players; we just have to have the will to want to do it."

In addition to last year's setback, the Mount (20-9) had the its 6-4 record over the past 10 games, a reminder of its vulnerability.

Yet playing without the pressure of being the favorite, against a mediocre foe that advanced by virtue of a win over third-seed Sacred Heart, the Mountaineers were out-rebounded -- as in their other two meetings with Wagner -- and suffered through a 33 percent shooting night.

"Teams that you beat during the regular season aren't the same in the tournament," Butters said. "People have to realize that."

Williams scored 16 first-half points, but the Mount was still down 30-26 at halftime. In the second half, with the Seahawks (15-14) playing a box-and-one, Williams had one point.

"The main thing was keeping an eye on where Kia Williams was," Wagner coach Tara Gallagher said.

Down by as many as nine points, the Mount went on an 11-2 run to take a 53-52 lead on two Andrea Bogart free throws with 3: 49 left.

But a pair of Meredith Kerns layups over the next two minutes gave the lead back to Wagner.

WAGNER -- Ryan 4-12 3-5 12, Carter 1-10 2-4 4, Kerns 5-8 0-3 10, Teague 2-6 0-0 5, Roker 5-13 0-0 12, Loeser 1-4 4-6 6, McGhee 1-3 0-0 2, Lee 4-10 0-0 8, Watral 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 24-69 9-18 61.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S -- Williams 7-15 3-7 17, Feldbusch 1-7 0-0 2, Butters 8-18 8-10 24, Menichini 0-4 0-0 0, Walton 3-8 1-1 8, Kokotajlo 0-3 0-0 0, Bogart 1-3 2-2 4, Fobbs 0-1 0-0 0, Lilly 0-1 0-0 0, Alexander 1-3 0-0 2, Hegge 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-64 14-20 57.

Halftime--Wagner, 30-26. 3-point goals--W 4-17 (Roker 2-5, Teague 1-4, Ryan 1-6, Carter 0-1, Loeser 0-1); MSM 1-13 (Walton 1-5, Feldbusch 0-2, Menichini 0-2, Kokotajlo 0-2, Alexander 0-2). Rebounds--W 56 (Kerns 14); MSM 44 (Williams 14). Assists--W 13 (Roker 3, Loeser 3); MSM 14 (Walton 5). Total fouls--W 18, MSM 18. A--N/A.

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