BY RONALD HANAKI
SC Staff Writer
ESU’s women’s basketball team lost 76-51 against Bloomsburg in the tournament quarterfinals at Nelson Field House on Tuesday night.
The Warriors were denied in their bid to make their first PSAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four since 2007.
ESU was seeded fifth and coming off an emotional 1-point win against Millersville just three days before, but on this night, they were no match for Bloomsburg.
The Huskies are ranked #14 in the USA Today Coaches poll and are the top seed in the PSAC East.
Bloomsburg sprinted out to an early 6-0 lead, but the Warriors battled back to make the score 18-14 with seven minutes left in the first half.
It was all Bloomsburg after that as the Huskies would go on a 9-1 run to make it 27-15.
By halftime, the Huskies led the Warriors 37-22.
ESU junior guard Ryann Fiascki hit a 3-point basket to open the second half, but that was as good as it got for the Warriors.
Despite ESU’s bench chanting, “D-E-F-E-N-S-E! D-E-F-E-N-S-E,” the Warriors’ defense could not slow down Bloomsburg’s explosive offense.
Bloomsburg shot a blistering 56.9 percent from the field. The Huskies shot even better from beyond the 3-point arc at an incredible 58.3 percent.
Bloomsburg junior guard Jocelyn Ford led the Huskies in scoring with 19 points, and Bloomsburg senior guard Catherine Noack added 16 points for the Huskies.
ESU’s Ryann Fiascki led the Warriors with 9 points, but the Warriors could not solve the Huskies’ suffocating defense that seemingly converged on the Warriors every time they had a scoring opportunity.
The Huskies’ D only allowed the Warriors to shoot 38.2 percent from the field and an anemic 16.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
When the score was 65-34, Bloomsburg had its biggest lead.
It didn’t even matter that the Huskies committed its seventh team foul putting ESU into the coveted bonus with 6:22 left in the game.
ESU’s Fiascki made the first half of her one-and-one and then the second foul shot to make the score 65-40, but by then, the Huskies had the game well in hand.
The game ended with ESU freshman guard Audrey Stapleton hitting a long two from just inside the 3-point to make the score 76-51, Bloomsburg.
ESU finished the 2013-2014 season with an overall record of 15-13. The Warriors’ only PSAC championship title came back in 1995.
Bloomsburg has advanced to the tournament’s semifinals and will play Gannon on Saturday, March 8.
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