BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's basketball team shook off a sluggish start after a 21-day break to post an 86-67 victory over Allegheny College in the opening round of the 15th Roosevelt's Greyhound Classic in Johnston Hall Saturday afternoon.
The Greyhounds advance to the championship game on Sunday, December 31 at 1:00 p.m. and will face William Paterson University, which defeated Penn State Lehigh Valley, 59-45, in Saturday's other first round game. The Nittany Lions and Gators will play in the consolation game at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Moravian had a pair of players in double figures against Allegheny led by graduate student forward Camille McPherson, who netted a season-high 27 points while shooting 11-of-13 from the floor and 5-for-5 behind the three-point line. Senior forward Trista Cunningham tossed in to points to go with four rebounds while McPherson had a pair of rebounds.
The Greyhounds had all 17 players see action in the game with 14 of them scoring points. Senior forward Ciara Stewart had nine points and a team-high seven rebounds while freshman guard Julia Sirotnak had seven points and four boards. Sophomore guard Maddie Capuano added nine assists, five points and three boards while sophomore forward Nadine Ewald, senior guard Taylor Freeman, junior guard Tyis Mullen, sophomore guard Brooke Santy and freshman guard Jennifer McClave each had four points. Ewald added three rebounds while McClave grabbed two boards.
Sophomore guard Karlie Brogan pulled down six rebounds to go with two points while junior forward Ariana Caiati had four boards and two points. Junior guard Emily Walls and freshman forward Jordan Beneducci each had two points while senior forward Jen Cella grabbed three rebounds.
"After a long layoff we started slow, but we picked up our defense intensity in the second half to take control of the game," stated Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk. "Once again it was great to have all 17 players see action and maintain a high level of play throughout. Camille came out on fire showing little signs of rust from the holiday break. Looking forward to facing a tough William Paterson team in the championship tomorrow."
The Greyhounds connected on 33-of-68 field goal attempts including 17-of-32 in the second half, and the Blue and Grey made 7-of-11 three-pointers. Moravian also had a 46-33 advantage on the boards while forcing the Gators into 17 turnovers.
Allegheny opened the game with seven before McPherson hit a lay-up at 8:02 to get Moravian on the scoreboard. The Greyhounds eventually tied the game at 11-11 on a basket by Stewart. The Gators pulled away by five points again and led 21-18 after 10 minutes of action.
Capuano hit a three-pointer to open the second quarter and tie the game at 21-21. Cunningham followed with a lay-up as Moravian moved ahead but the Gators answered to knot the score at 23-23. McPherson hit a three-pointer at the 7:57 mark to give Moravian the lead for good. McPherson pushed the lead to seven points, 32-25, and she hit a late jumper to send the Hounds to the locker room with a 40-34 advantage.
The Greyhounds outscored Allegheny, 32-13, in the third quarter to take control of the contest. McPherson gave the Blue and Grey their first double digit lead, 47-36, with a jumper at 8:09, and Cunningham finished off a 15-0 run with a lay-up at 6:33 for a 57-36 edge. Mullen had a late lay-up to give Moravian a 72-47 lead after 30 minutes of action.
Sirotnak would give the Blue and Grey their biggest lead of the afternoon at 27 points, 74-47, to start the fourth quarter and the advantage remained over 19 points for the remainder of the game.
Sunday will be the third time that Moravian and William Paterson have faced off in the Roosevelt's Greyhound Classic Championship with the Greyhounds winning in 2009 and the Pioneers in 2011. Moravian has a total of nine titles while William Paterson has won twice in its previous four trips to the tournament.