Upset Bid Comes Up Short in Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals
March 1, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the second time in five days, the Lafayette women's basketball team pushed Patriot League regular season champion American to its limit. However, Thursday's Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal in Washington, D.C. saw the upset bid fall short again in a 59-54 loss.
The eighth-seeded Leopards end their 2011-12 season at 8-22. Top-seed American, which recently capped the first 14-0 regular season in Patriot League history, moves to 23-6 overall with its 15th consecutive win. Lafayette's five-point loss was the best showing by the No. 8 seed since the 2007 tournament in which Colgate pulled off the only postseason win by an eight seed. The Leopards hosted American on Saturday and fell in similarly heartbreaking fashion, 58-54.
Danielle Fiacco posted her 11th double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-best 11 rebounds. Emily Homan, who received her Patriot League Rookie of the Year award prior to the game, matched Fiacco with 12 points to split the team high in scoring. Melissa Downey added seven points in her final collegiate game as well as a team-high four assists, and Linnel Macklin scored five. Sarah McGorry capped her career with four points, and Ashley Springer also netted four. Maddie Peabody and Samantha Jordan each tallied three, and Brya Freeland and Madeline Fahan scored two points apiece.
As a team, the Leopards shot 19-for-47 (40.4 percent) from the floor, 1-for-5 (20 percent) from three-point range and 15-for-19 (78.9 percent) from the free throw line. American was 21-for-51 (41.2 percent) from the field, 5-for-16 (31.3 percent) from downtown and 12-for-18 (66.7 percent) from the stripe.
Patriot League Player of the Year Lisa Strack led all players with 19 points. Fellow First Team All-Patriot League performer Alexis Dobbs added 17 for the Eagles.
Lafayette held a 37-27 advantage on the glass en route to a 12-5 margin in second-chance points. American won the turnover battle, 20-14.
The Leopards got on the board first with buckets by Homan and McGorry, but the Eagles reeled off the next seven to grab a 7-4 lead and induce a Lafayette timeout with 15:33 to go in the half. The Leopards regained the lead at 10-9 on a Downey three-point play and Macklin jumper, but American responded once again, this time with a 10-2 spurt to take a 19-12 lead. The game of runs continued as the next seven tallies went to Lafayette to knot the game at 19-19. The Eagles ended their scoreless drought after 3:07, but the Leopards run extended to 13-4 in total to give the Maroon and White a 25-23 advantage. American reclaimed a 28-25 advantage before Peabody drained a three-pointer from the corner with 10 seconds to play in the half. The tie score was short-lived, however, as American's Arron Zimmerman connected on a jumper at the buzzer to send the Leopards into the locker room trailing, 30-28.
The clubs traded buckets to open the second half until five-straight tallies by American gave the home team a 40-34 advantage with 14:03 to go. The Eagles' cushion grew to seven at 45-38 before a McGorry layup started an 8-0 run the propelled the Leopards into the lead, 46-45. Freeland's jumper that put Lafayette on top was the first of five lead changes over the ensuing three minutes of action. Downey sank two free throws with 5:24 remaining to give the Leopards a 50-49 lead, but American scored the next seven points to build a 56-50 advantage with three minutes remaining.
Lafayette made a final push, started by two free throws from Homan. After Strack hit one from the line, Homan's layup on a feed from Fiacco cut the deficit to single possession at 57-54 with 1:29 to go. After a series of empty trips each way, Lafayette gained possession with 13 seconds to go. But the Leopards could only manage a well-contested heave against the league's stingiest team. American tacked on a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to give the Eagles a 59-54 win.
American moves on to host No. 5 Holy Cross in the tournament semifinals on Monday, March 5.