GRANTHAM, Pa., March 3, 2006 - Springfield College sophomore guard Tara McCarthy (Bristol, R.I.) led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the field and 7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line, but it was the Falcons of Messiah College which defeated the Pride, 70-56, in first round action of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament at Brubaker Gymnasium.
The Falcons improve to 26-2 on the season and a perfect 15-0 at home as Messiah will take on Williams College tomorrow evening (March 4) in a 7:00 p.m. second round match-up. Williams defeated New York University in an earlier first round contest this evening, also at Brubaker Gymnasium. SC ends its 2005-06 campaign with a 22-7 overall record.
Messiah jumped out early on the Pride, leading for a majority of the first half and increasing its advantage to 12 (37-25) going into the break. SC could only get within eight points the rest of the way, going on a 5-0 run to make it 50-42 with 9:25 remaining in the game. The Falcons put the game out of reach after that, however, as Messiah scored the next 13 points to take a 65-44 lead. Junior forward Sarah Ringer keyed the Falcons' 13-0 run, scoring nine of the 13 as Messiah pulled away for good.
Despite the loss, SC registered season-bests in total rebounds (55) and offensive boards (28), out-rebounding the Falcons by a 55-32 margin. Freshman center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) recorded a double-double of 11 points and a game-best 13 rebounds. O'Connor grabbed an impressive 10 offensive rebounds for the Pride. Senior center Erin Schwartz (Milford, Conn.) added nine points and 11 caroms in the defeat.
Messiah held SC to a 3-18 performance from three-point land in the game as the reigning New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Player of the Year, senior forward Courtney Parvin (Brackney, Pa.), was held to just two points in the contest as she added nine rebounds (seven offensive).