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March 10, 2014

Hawks run out of gas in NCAA's second round

By Dean Russin Sports Editor
The Daily Star

---- — ONEONTA — Hartwick College left everything on the floor.

But that happened the night before Saturday’s 82-61 women’s basketball loss to Amherst College in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

“I do think we were gassed, specifically at the end of the first half going into the second,” said sixth-year Hartwick coach Missy West, whose team battled back from an 11-point deficit in the second half of Friday’s first-round NCAA game at Lambros Arena for an 80-77 overtime defeat of Baruch College.

“I think we really showed that we were tired,” she continued. “It did take a lot out of us last night because it was an awesome comeback. ... Even after, we were so excited, there was so much energy. It’s hard to get up the next day and face even harder competition.”

Amherst (26-3) may be overqualified for the “harder competition” category as the 11th-ranked Lord Jeffs, who won the 2011 NCAA D-III title, got one step closer to making their sixth straight appearance in the national semifinals.

Still, at-large NCAA selection Hartwick (22-6) seemed anything but ready to roll over upon its return to Lambros Arena, where the Hawks celebrated their first NCAA triumph in 23 seasons Friday night.

Lee Arduini curled around Brittney Dumas’ high screen for a layup that opened the scoring 42 seconds into the second-round game, then stole an entry pass on Amherst’s next possession.

Ali Doswell returned the favor with a steal at the other end, setting up Hannah Peterson for a wide-open three-pointer just left of the circle with 18:39 to go in the opening half.

Peterson blocked Maria Foglia after a quick cut to the right block and soon hit another open three from the left wing for a 6-2 lead 26 seconds later.

Marley Giddins offset a pair of Dumas free throws with an awkward jumper to make it 8-4, but a driving Arduini kicked the ball out to Kate Purcell at the right wing for a three-pointer that pulled the Hawks to 8-7 with 14:29 to go before halftime.

Hartwick then took its final lead of the 2013-14 season at the 12:56 mark, when Dumas scooped in shot from the right side for a 9-8 edge.

Suddenly, everyone in an Amherst uniform was hitting.

Jaimie Renner’s banker from the left side sparked an 8-0 Amherst run that featured back-to-back threes from Meredith Doswell and Peterson. Before the half ended, the Lord Jeffs got four more threes — two from Haley Zwecker and one apiece from Meredith Doswell and Renner.

Hartwick wouldn’t go away, though, as it stayed close with threes by Dumas, Arduini and Kait Veit, the last of which pulled the Hawks to 32-29 with 2:43 to go.

Amherst toughened up for the final stretch of the first half, forcing a pair of turnovers, drawing three Hartwick fouls and blocking two three-point attempts to fuel an 8-0 spurt.

Giddins and Savannah Holness converted consecutive and-one three-point plays before Holness capped the first-half scoring on a turnaround in the paint 58 seconds ahead of the break.

“Hartwick’s a great team and watching them play last night with their comeback victory, we knew we needed to come out and play today,” Amherst coach GP Gromacki said. “We took care of business early. We hit some shots and it kind of took off from there.”

The Lord Jeffs opened the second half with an 18-7 run that featured five more three-pointers for a double-digit cushion they easily maintained the rest of the way.

“The extra pass really made a difference tonight,” said Gromacki, whose team was missing two regular starters because of injuries. “We made the shots, but our teammates got each other open.”

Amherst shot 54 percent from the floor (28-for-52), including a 15-for-27 effort (56 percent) from three-point range. Ali Doswell scored a team-best 15 points — all on threes — for the Lord Jeffs, who received 14 points apiece from Giddins and Meredith Doswell, 12 from Holness and 11 from Renner. Giddins also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for Amherst, which received nine points from Zwecker.

“Tonight, I think we gave what we had left,” said West, the Empire 8 Conference Coach of the Year. “Mentally we were tired, physically we were tired and Amherst was at the top of their game.

“I think being tired really affected us today,” she continued. “But it will never take away last night’s win. That feeling that we had, they deserve that feeling. When you work so hard and you get that feeling, there’s no replacement for it. That’s what I needed these girls to feel and we felt that.”

West also said she hopes that feeling translates into years of success for the Hawks, who will graduate Foglia, Purcell, Arduini, Veit and Tracey Koch. Foglia ranks fourth in program scoring with 1,540 points and Purcell, who ranks 11th with 1,184, is the all-time three-point field goals leader with 166.

Dumas isn’t going anywhere, though, as the sophomore forward figures to be the centerpiece of the program for the next two seasons.

“I just wanted to play well for the seniors and I couldn’t have played well without my teammates,” said Dumas, who followed a college-best 34 points Friday with a game-high 20 on Saturday. She also had a team-best 10 rebounds. “I learn stuff all the time and it’s great playing with them because they all love basketball as much as I do. ... But we have a lot of other players who should be able to step up.”

Foglia contributed 13 points and fellow senior Ardiuni had 11 for the Hawks, who were still basking in the glow of Friday’s NCAA victory even after Saturday’s loss.

“To make it this far is great. I couldn’t ask for anything more for my senior year,” Foglia said. “I think with the game last night, we were going really hard. So I think we were tired today and that didn’t help. But last night was fun and I won’t ever forget that. That was great.”

Amherst 82, Hartwick 61

NCAA D-III TOURNAMENT

Second Round at Hartwick

AMHERST (26-3): Ali Doswell 5-12 0-2 15, Marley Giddins 6-10 2-2 14, Meredith Doswell 4-6 3-4 14, Savannah Holness 5-7 2-5 12, Jaimie Renner 4-5 0-0 11, Haley Zwecker 2-4 3-4 9, Hannah Peterson 2-8 0-0 6, Virginia Hassell 0-0 1-2 1, Taylor Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Rachel Boyette 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 28-52 11-19 82.

HARTWICK (22-6): Brittney Dumas 6-14 5-6 20, Maria Foglia 4-17 5-7 13, Lee Arduini 4-11 2-2 11, Kate Purcell 2-5 0-0 5, Kait Veit 1-3 1-2 4, Jacqui Foreman 1-1 0-1 2, Christina Graziadei 1-1 0-0 2, Taylor Vonasek 0-2 2-2 2, Tracey Koch 0-0 2-2 2, Rachel Hunt 0-0 0-0 0, Emily Stone 0-1 0-1 0, Alicia Razanousky 0-1 0-0 0, Jessica Bellai 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 19-56 17-23 61.

Halftime: Amherst, 40-29. Three-point field goals: A 15-27 (A. Doswell 5-9, M. Doswell 3-4, Renner 3-3, Zwecker 2-3, Peterson 2-8); H 6-17 (Dumas 3-4, Purcell 1-3, Arduini 1-1, Veit 1-3, Vonasek 0-1, Foglia 0-5). Rebounds: A 37 (Giddins 11); H 32 (Dumas 10). Assists: A 19 (Zwecker 5); H 5 (Lee Arduini 2). A: 298.

Dean Russin can be reached at drussin@thedailystar.com or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.