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Salve Regina Downs Women's Basketball, 50-46, In 2009 Holiday Inn/Naismith Classic; Messiah Defeats Skidmore, 65-51, in Game #2

Corey Finch Box Score

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — January 2, 2009 – Led by Allegra Lavoy’s 15 points and 11 rebounds, the Salve Regina women’s basketball team defeated Springfield College, 50-46, in the opening round of the 2009 Holiday Inn/Naismith Classic earlier this afternoon at Springfield College’s James Naismith Court in Blake Arena. In game #2, Messiah defeated Skidmore, 65-51. (Game story to follow.)

With the victory, Salve Regina is now 6-3, while the Springfield women fall to 4-6. Salve will now play Messiah College tomorrow at 5:30 pm in the women's championship game. Meanwhile, Springfield will face Skidmore in the women's consolation at 1 pm.

Today’s first game was a tale of two halves. The Seahawks of Salve Regina took a 30-18 lead at the half. But Springfield came all the way back and then some to take a 39-34 lead with 6:40 to go on a jumper by senior center Lauren O’Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.).

The Pride still led by three at 41-38 when O’Connor made a lay-up with 4:58 left, and by three again at 43-40 on a short shot by senior forward Corey Finch (Hanover, Pa.) with 3:33 to go.

But Salve sophomore forward Erin Phillips (Morristown, N.J.) then made a lay-up with 2:51 remaining to cut the lead to one at 43-42. After Finch missed a shot, Lavoy was fouled with 2:08 left. She made one of two to tie matters at 43-all. Springfield was still in control when sophomore guard Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.) was fouled in the act of shooting. But Connors missed both attempts, and SC missed two further shots from the floor, the latter with 1:20 remaining.

Lavoy then made a short jumper, regaining the form she had shown in the first half when she scored 12 points, with 1:11 left, giving the Seahawks the lead for good at 45-43. Following a Springfield turnover, sophomore guard/forward Meghan Averill (Newfields, N.H.) made two free throws, giving the Seahawks a four-point lead with 27 seconds left.

Springfield freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) kept it exciting when she swished a three-pointer with 19 seconds left, cutting it to 47-46. Averill then made two more free throws with 11 seconds to go, setting up the finish.

Springfield ran the same exact play for Murphy, who attempted a three-pointer from the top of the circle with three seconds left, but could not capitalize. Phillips made one more free throw with a tenth of one second remaining to give the Seahawks the deciding 50-46 advantage at game’s end.

Lavoy finished with 15 points, and was one of two double-figure scorers for Salve Regina. Lavoy also finished with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Phillips had 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Olivia Browning (Trumbull, Conn.) also finished with 10 rebounds.

For Springfield, Finch ended with 15 points and 8 rebounds. O’Connor had 8 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. O'Connor now needs 10 more points to become the 13th player in Springfield College women's basketball history to reach the 1000 point plateau. Sophomore forward Meghan Macarthur (Baiting Hollow, N.Y.) had 6 points.

Neither team shot well from the floor. Springfield shot .357 (20-of-56), while Salve shot .322 (19-of-59). SC also shot .357 from the free throw line (5-of-14), although Salve did not shoot much better from the charity stripe at .526 (10-of-19). Salve outrebounded Springfield, 43-42. Salve won despite shooting just .192 (5-of-26) from the floor in the second half.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL GAME #2 -- MESSIAH DEFEATS SKIDMORE, 65-51

Box Score

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- January 2, 2009 -- In game #2 of today's Holiday Inn/Naismith Classic at Springfield College's Blake Arena, Messiah College of Grantham, Pa. defeated Skidmore College of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. by a score of 65-51.

With the victory, Messiah, nationally-ranked throughout the season, is now 7-2. Skidmore falls to 3-5. Messiah will now play Salve Regina (6-3) in the women's championship game Saturday at 5:30 pm. Meanwhile, Skidmore will face host Springfield (4-6) at 1 pm in the consolation.

In the Messiah-Skidmore contest, it was Skidmore that got off to a fast start. Messiah had taken a 6-4 lead with 15:17 left on a lay-up by junior guard Julie Henninger (Carlisle, Pa.). But Skidmore then scored the next nine points to take a 13-6 lead with 10:56 remaining on a jumper by senior guard Kellye Caufield (Monroe, Conn.). That turned out to be Skidmore's high-water mark.

When senior guard Katie Kalb (Holmdel, N.J.) hit a jumper with 7:18 left in the half, Messiah regained the lead for good at 16-15. When Messiah's senior forward Silalei Shani (Dakar, Senegal) made a jumper with 4:20 to go, Messiah led 22-15, closing out its best run of the game, 18-2. A three-pointer by senior guard Christa Wenrich (Hummelstown, Pa.) with nine seconds remaining gave the Falcons a five-point lead, 31-26, at the half.

In the second half, Messiah scored the first seven points to take a 38-26 edge with 15:52 left. Wenrich made another 3-pointer to culminate that short rally.

Skidmore made one more run, cutting it to four points, 45-41, when junior guard Sharlyn Harper (New York, N.Y.) made one from beyond the arc with 9:40 to go. But Messiah then outscored Skidmore, 18-6, over the next 5:54, giving the Falcons a 63-47 advantage with 3:44 left. Skidmore could get it no closer than the final margin of 14 the rest of the way.

Messiah received very balanced scoring, and was led by Wenrich with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Henninger and Shani each scored 12 points, and Kalb added 10. Henninger led all rebounders with 9.

For Skidmore, Harper, coming off the bench, led all scorers with 18 points. She was 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Christine Kemp (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) also scored in double figures for the Thoroughbreds with 11 points. Junior forward Dana Leonard (Cooperstown, N.Y.) led Skidmore with 7 rebounds.

Messiah had a huge advantage in rebounding, 45-28. Messiah shot .439 from the floor (25-of-57), while Skidmore shot just .333 (19-of-57).

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