BY FRANCIS ABBAMONTE
On Feb. 28, the ESU Women’s basketball team was defeated by the Millersville University Marauders 91-76 at Koehler Fieldhouse in the 2018 PSAC Quarterfinal game. This game was a rematch of their previous game where Millersville defeated ESU 70-68 on Senior Day.
Both teams started the game slowly on offense. Millersville’s offense began to click as they scored eight unanswered points in the first quarter.
The Warriors shot many three-point jump shots in the first quarter, but they didn’t drop. Then the Warrior offense scored seven points and decreased the lead to six. This forced the Marauders to call a timeout with 3:34 remaining in the first quarter.
The Warriors then forced a turnover, but they couldn’t capitalize on the extra possession. That led to Millersville getting a second chance bucket and their biggest lead of the game thus far at ten.
Millersville was called for a turnover in the final seconds of the first quarter giving the Warriors the last shot, but it didn’t fall. Heading into the second quarter, the Warriors were down 11-17.
ESU had excellent ball movement to start the second quarter, but couldn’t make shots. Millersville’s offense didn’t skip a beat in the second quarter, and they continued to score.
ESU continued to have difficulty inbounding the ball due to the Marauders’ full court pressure.
But senior guard Imani Brown had a big impact in the second quarter scoring and also passing. ESU’s ball movement led to an open look three-pointer for junior guard Ann McKnight followed by a Brown teardrop to cut the lead to five.
Sophomore guard Jordan Hertz drove to the basket before the Millersville defense could get set. Hertz was fouled and made both free throws.
But then sophomore guard Courtney Dimoff gave Millersville some breathing room by draining a three-pointer to increase their lead to six.
That didn’t stop the Warriors as they continued to be aggressive and were in the bonus. Brown made big shot after big shot, and sophomore guard Tiffany Lapotsky scored a spin move lay-up and a three-pointer to make it a two-point ball game.
With 0.3 second remaining, ESU fouled junior guard Jade Farquhar, who made both free throws to increase Millersville’s lead to 44-40 at the half.
The Warriors started the third quarter with a Brown steal that led to Hertz drawing the foul. Freshmen forward Marlene Bassett nearly got a steal, but the ball deflected to a Millersville player for an easy bucket for the Marauders.
Senior guard Alayah Hall scored back-to-back difficult shots to increase Millersville’s lead to ten early in the third quarter.
ESU Head Coach Diane Decker called a timeout with 7:34 remaining, but the Marauders continued to score while the Warrior offense struggled.
Lapotsky scored back-to-back buckets, but Millersville was in the bonus with 4:03 left. The Marauders continued to make difficult shots and drain their three-pointers to give them their biggest lead of the game at 70-55.
Brown drained a mid-range jump shot to close the third quarter, but ESU was down 57-70 with only one quarter remaining.
Millersville didn’t take their foot off the gas pedal as they scored back-to-back buckets at the start of the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 17. Time was running out for the Warriors. They only had 6:08 remaining in the game.
ESU began to score and trimmed the lead to ten with 4:42 remaining. But Millersville would not give up their lead and increased it back to seventeen with 1:17 remaining. The Warriors kept fighting, but their shots were not dropping.
Millersville ran out the clock and advanced to play IUP in the PSAC Semifinals.
ESU’s leading scores were Brown, who scored 29 points in her final collegiate game, and Lapotsky with 23 points.
The Warriors’ season came to a heartbreaking end.
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