Friday, March 8, 2013

Manhattan Tops Loyola, 50-49,

Jaspers Move On to Face Marist

BRONX, NEW YORK,  March 8- Monica Roeder (Marlton, N.J.) hit an eight-foot jumper as final buzzer sounded to give the Manhattan College women’s basketball team (8-22) a 50-49 victory over Loyola (12-18) in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament at the MassMutual Center on Thursday afternoon. With the win, the Jaspers moved on to face top- seeded Marist (23-6) in Friday’s quarterfinals.

After a Roeder jumper put the Jaspers ahead 48-47 with 27 seconds left, Loyola called a timeout. Katie Sheahin then hit a jumper to give the Greyhounds the lead, 49-48, with 11 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Manhattan possession, Allison Skrec (Roselle, N.J.) missed a shot, but got her own rebound. Skrec missed again, but the ball went out-of-bounds off Loyola with less than a second to go. Manhattan Head Coach John Olenowski then used both of his remaining timeouts, and he drew up a play for Toni-Ann Lawrence (Elmont, N.Y.) off the inbounds pass. However, Skrec saw Roeder had an open look, and she released the shot just before the horn. The officials reviewed the video and confirmed that the bucket was good.

“I’ve never done it before. It feels good,” Roeder said about her game-winning shot. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. Toni worked hard to get the defense directed towards her, and Allison made a nice pass to me.”

“There were plays down the stretch that were really outstanding,” Olenowski added. “We made the key baskets. Monica, of course, with the last one, but the one before that was just as key to take the lead.”

The game began as a defensive struggle, as baskets were hard to come by in the opening 20 minutes. With the score tied 6-6 at the 8:39 mark, Katie Reese (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) was fouled on a layup and sank the free throw to give Manhattan a 9-6 advantage. Loyola responded with six straight points to go up 12-9 before Reese drained a three-pointer to even the score at 12-12 with 3:04 left in the first half. The Greyhounds scored six of the next eight points to take an 18-14 lead, but Maggie Blair (Briarcliff, N.Y.) nailed a trey to trim the Jaspers’ deficit to one, 18-17, at intermission.

The Greyhounds got a three-pointer from Nicole Krusen to open the second half, but Manhattan immediately countered every Loyola bucket, evening the score at 28-28 on a Lawrence layup and free throw. Skrec then hit a layup to give the Jaspers a 30-28 lead before a pair of Sheahin layups put Loyola back in front, 32-30. Roeder responded with a trey to once again put Manhattan in front, but Sheahin sank a trey of her own on the other end to make it 35-33 in favor of the Greyhounds.

After Lawrence hit a jumper and Skrec nailed a three-ball to give Manhattan the lead, Alyssa Sutherland sank a trey for Loyola to tie it once again at 38-38. However, the Jaspers responded with a 6-0 run to open up the largest lead of the game for either side, a 44-38 advantage with 5:35 remaining. The Greyhounds stormed back, though, rallying for seven straight points to regain the lead, 45-44. Lawrence then sank a layup to put Manhattan back in front, 46-45, before a pair of Sheahin free throws gave Loyola a 47-46 cushion with 2:05 left.

“We knew that this game was going to be a really tough defensive battle,” Olenowski said. “In the second half, offensively both teams turned it up a notch. We had a really big goal of coming out of here with a win. We’re happy to get that win and really excited to get the opportunity to play Marist tomorrow.”

Lawrence led the Jaspers with 15 points and eight rebounds to go along with two blocks and two steals. Skrec added 11 points, all in the second half, six boards and five assists, while Roeder had 10 points, including the 1,000th of her career, and eight rebounds. Manhattan shot 35.8 percent (19-of-53) from the field and outrebounded Loyola 39-28. The Jaspers shot 40 percent (6-of-15) from long range and 75 percent (6-of-8) at the free throw line.

Sheahin tallied 13 points to pace the Greyhounds. She also tallied five rebounds, four assists and five steals. Kara Marshall contributed 11 points and four steals off the bench, while Nneka Offodile pulled down a team-high six rebounds. Loyola shot 35.4 percent (17-of-48) from the field, 31.3 percent (5-of-16) from three-point land, and 66.7 percent (10-of-15) at the charity stripe.

Manhattan will now take on the seven-time defending champion Red Foxes, who went a perfect 18-0 in conference play this season. Including the MAAC Tournament, Marist has won 67 of its last 69 games against conference opponents, with the only two losses coming against the Jaspers.

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