The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 11, 2013

Williams, Gibbs make key plays for St. Francis

LORETTO — The fourth-seeded St. Francis women’s basketball team made the critical plays at the end of each half to defeat fifth-seeded Central Connecticut State, 66-63, to advance to Wednesday’s Northeast Conference semifinal at Sacred Heart.

Sunday marked the rubber game between the two rivals. St. Francis defeated CCSU, 67-62, at home Jan. 7  before the Blue Devils returned the favor just six days ago, 76-71.

CCSU (16-14) took a 63-60 lead with 1:32 left in the game on a Lauren Arbogast 3-pointer.

After that, it was all St. Francis (16-14).

SFU junior forward Alli Williams was fouled on the next possession and made both free throws to trail by a point. CCSU guard Jaclyn Babe was called for an offensive foul to give the ball back to St. Francis. Williams made a leaning, underhand scoop layup with 27 seconds left to give the Red Flash a 64-63 lead. CCSU’s Jessica Babe missed a floater in the key as Williams grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Williams calmly made both free throws once again for a three-point lead. CCSU pushed the ball upcourt to get a good look for Arbogast from behind the arc, only to have the shot hit the back iron at the buzzer.

“The St. Francis players made the big plays when they needed to make the big plays down the wire,” CCSU coach Beryl Piper said.

“It was a hard-fought game and there’s a lot of little intangibles that make a difference in winning and losing a game like today. That was a good four versus five seed matchup game.”

Williams, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for her 23rd double-double of the season, knew it was going to be a physical and competitive game, since a semifinal berth was at stake for the winner.

“We worked hard this week in practice, we did a lot of scrimmaging. We prepared a lot, we knew it was going to be a battle and we stuck it out and I’m really proud of us.”

The other momentum swing happened at the end of the first half when CCSU led by 12 with 5:28 left.

St. Francis forced four turnovers in that span and scored four points in the last six seconds to gain momentum and only trail by three at the half. Rebecca Keegan (nine points, 11 rebounds) and Nickia Gibbs (20 points) combined for 10 of the points in a 13-4 run.

CCSU shot 54 percent from the field in the first half. St. Francis’ nine offensive rebounds and second chance points kept them within striking distance.

Despite good defense against her all game, Jaclyn Babe scored 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting.

“She’s a great player, one of the leading scorers in the conference,” said Gibbs, who spent most of her time defensively guarding Babe.

SFU coach Joe Haigh said, “Sometimes when you give it everything you got and the girl still hits a shot on you, that can be really deflating. Jackie Babe, a great player who played a great game, she hit some really tough shots. I thought we did a great job defending her and she still scored 27 on us. We did a great job when things went against us, we really responded well. I’m really proud of our team.”

CCSU’s Kirsten Daamen finished with 14 points. SFU’s Rebecca Sparks provided 12 points and four assists.  

St. Francis now moves on to play at Sacred Heart (22-9), which beat the Red Flash both meetings this year. That does not have any bearing for forward Shene Fleming (game-high 14 rebounds).

“I think the beauty of the tournament is that all of that is over. Every team starts fresh, every team that we play now is 1-0 just like us,” Fleming said. “I don’t think we should go into this week thinking about that. I think we need to focus on us. … I think we have the advantage, I really do.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo