The University of Mary Washington women's basketball built a 10-point halftime advantage, lost it, and then held on for a 62-57 victory over Sage Colleges on Friday evening in Amherst, Mass., in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament. All-America senior Brianne Comden scored 24 points for the Eagles, who advance to Saturday's second round at Amherst College.
Sage opened the first quarter by jumping out to an 8-4 lead through the first 2:29 of action. Emily Parslow netted five of the Gators' first eight points. The Eagles would respond with the largest run of the game, scoring 16 straight points to asusme a 20-8 lead with 1:14 remaining in the first.
Comden made a pair of baskets to start the streak, and Elizabeth Dofflemyer, McKenzie Jenkins, and Kendall Parker followed with three pointers. An old fashioned three-point play from Parker ran the Eagle lead to 20-8 with 1:14 left.
Sage would respond with a Frankie Pearson three pointer and a late basket from Kaitlyn Bowman to cut the deficit to 20-13 after one quarter.
Comden started the second with a pair of interior baskets to return the UMW lead to double figures, at 24-13. Five straight Sage points trimmed the deficit to five, before Comden sank another basket to push the Eagle lead to 26-18 with 6:55 remaining.
A three pointer from Dofflemyer and four points from Comden upped the UMW advantage to 13, at 33-20 with 3:22 left before halftime. A Pearson layup with 1:06 left cut the halftime margin to 37-27 in favor of UMW.
The teams traded points trhoughout the third quarter, as neither team could budge the other. The Gators were able to cut the deficit to five on three occasions, but each time the Eagles would return the lead to nine, which was the UMW lead as the clock reset for the fourth quarter.
Pearson made a jumper to start the fourth for Sage, and and Parslow followed with a three pointer, and the margin was suddenly down to four, 53-49, with 7:22 left. Jenkins responded with a three pointer for UMW, but four straight points from Bowman and a Pearson triple tied the score at 56 with 3:55 remaining.
A Bowman free throw gave the Gators the lead with 3:21 left, but Megan Green answered with one for the Eagles to again knot the score with 2:53 showing. After a missed three pointer from Sage, Comden found Jordan Pamlanye for the go ahead bucket with 2:12 on the clock.
Green sank three free throws in the waning seconds, to give UMW the 62-57 win, their first in the NCAA Tournament since 2012, when they advanced to the regional final round.
Comden made 9-15 shots from the field and finished 6-8 from the free throw line en route to her game-high 24 points. In the process, she moved into third place in school history in career scoring. Green added nine points for UMW. Sage was led by Parslow's 19 points, and Pearson's 15.
Mary Washington shot 21-48 from the floor (43.8%), making 7-15 three point tries and 13 of 19 free throws. Sage shot 20-60 (33.3%), making 9-32 three point attempts and 8-12 free throws. The Eagles held a 38-33 rebounding edge.
The Eagles will face the winner of Friday's second game at Amherst College between the hosts and Regis University on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in second round action.