The seventh-ranked University of Mary Washington women's basketball team edged 17th ranked Lebanon Valley College, 46-41, in the sectional semifinals of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament on Friday night at the Anderson Center. The Eagles improve to 30-0 on the season, and will advance to the sectional finals for the second time in program history on Saturday night.
Lebanon Valley broke the ice in a tight contest with 8:52 left in the first half, as Caitlin Bach hit a free throw to give the Flying Dutchmen a four point lead at 12-8. The Eagles trailed, 16-13, with 5:12 to go, but went on a 10-0 run (thanks in part to four points each from Sam Partonen and Katie Wimmer) and led, 23-18, at halftime.
Lebanon Valley came out strong in the second half, starting the frame with a 16-2 run to gain the lead at 32-27 with 10:14 left. The Dutchmen led by as many as five, including at 41-36 with 3:33 remaining, but UMW answered with another run, scoring the final 10 points of the game for the 46-41 victory. That run included eight free throws from McRae.
The Eagle defense was again the key to victory, as they held LVC to 31.8% shooting from the floor, including 7-28 (25%) in the second half. UMW shot poorly as well, going 17-63 from the floor, but had 15 important offensive rebounds. Lebanon Valley had an edge at the free throw line, going 12-6, and the Eagles shot 11-17. Mary Washington forced 21 turnovers and committed just nine in the game.
Mcrae was the only Eagle in double figures, leading all scorers with 14 points, and also grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore Aby Diop had eight points and four rebounds, and Partonen added six points, nine rebounds, and three steals. Lebanon Valley saw Tierney Hiltz and Kiely Chaklos each score 10.
Next up for Mary Washington is third ranked and fellow undefeated 30-0 George Fox University, who defeated Bowdoin College, 71-55, in the evening's opener. In that game, George Fox was led by Hannah Munger's 18 points and 11 rebounds. Game time for Saturday's tip is 7:00 p.m.
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