Presidents Downed By Swarthmore In ECAC Semifinals
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Second-seeded Swarthmore received 21 points from Katie Lytle and advanced to the ECAC Division III Southern Division Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship game after defeating third-seeded Washington & Jefferson College 78-63 on Saturday afternoon at Johnston Hall.
The Garnet will face the winner of Saturday’s second semifinal game between No. 1 Moravian and No. 4 Juniata on Sunday at 1:00 pm. W&J saw its season come to a conclusion with a 21-9 record.
Freshman forward Beka Bellhy (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) scored the final four points of a 9-0 Presidents’ run that put W&J in front 17-11 after nine minutes of play.
Swarthmore battled back behind the hot shooting of Lytle, who collected 12 first-half points, including a three-pointer just before halftime that gave the Garnet a 34-29 lead after 20 minutes.
SC charged out of the locker room with a three-point barrage to extend its lead to 20 points. The Garnet capped a 16-2 run with three-straight triples, including two from Jessica Jowdy, and led 56-36 at the 12:53 mark of the second half.
The Presidents slowly chipped away at the deficit over the next three minutes as junior forward Chelsea Apke (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mount Lebanon) netted three consecutive points and senior guard Emily Abraham (Canfield, Ohio/Boardman) sank a pair of free throws, bringing W&J within 14 (58-44).
However, Lytle provided the answer for the Garnet as she drained a pair of free throws and followed with a jumper that pushed the advantage back to 19. W&J was unable to cut Swarthmore’s lead below 15 points the rest of the way.
Sophomore center Valerie Dunlap produced her 12th double-double with a career-high 25 points (11-19 FG) and 10 rebounds to lead the Presidents, who shot 45 percent (25-55) from the field. Her 283 rebounds this winter rank as the fifth-highest, single-season total in W&J history. Dunlap also set Presidents’ record with 83 blocked shots this winter.
Abraham drained a pair of triples, finishing with 10 points, five boards and two assists. Abraham concluded her four-year career with 126 three-pointers, the fourth-highest total in program history.
Apke added eight points and six boards, while junior point guard Kara Seamon (Morgantown, W. Va./University) matched a career-best with eight assists. Seamon averaged 4.2 helpers in 30 games, becoming the third consecutive President to lead the PAC in assists. Vanessa Rivera ’12 accomplished the feat during the previous two seasons.
Lytle connected on 8-of-15 shots and grabbed a team-high eight boards, while Elle Larsen added 18 points (8-13 FG) and six rebounds. The Garnet shot 47.5 percent (29-61) and drained eight three-pointers.
W&J’s 21 victories this year were tied for the sixth-highest total during a single season in program history. The Presidents posted their seventh 20-plus win season under the guidance of ninth-year Head Coach Jina DeRubbo.