The University of Mary Washington women's basketball team defeated York College, 55-49, Wednesday night in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinal in the Anderson Center. The Eagles (20-6, 10-2 CAC), led by Sam Partonen's 15 points, advance to their second-straight conference championship game. Tonight's victory extends UMW's winning streak against York to 12 games, and is their second against the Spartans (20-7, 8-4 CAC) in eight days. Carol Dye added in a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
The Eagles got off to a great start scoring 12 of the game's first 14 points. Aubrey Howland, Dye, and Partonen put in two baskets apiece and shot a combined 6 for 8 from the field in the first five minutes of action. At the 15:07 mark, York was forced to call a timeout in an attempt to disrupt the Eagles' rhythm. Action on the offensive side of the ball stalled as neither team made a field goal over the next three and a half minutes. Brittany Hicks' layup at 7:43 ended the drought and cut the lead to five.
Both teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half until a jumper by Dye with 46 seconds left extended Mary Washington's lead to 11. Then at the buzzer, Aja Wallpher sank the first half's only 3-pointer to take her team into the locker room down 20-12.
Partonen led all scorers at the break with eight, while UMW shot 39.1 percent (9 for 23). York was held to just 15.4 percent (4 for 26) from the field.
The Spartans slowly chipped away at the score over the final 20 minutes but never managed to take the lead at any point or even up the score. Kristen Haley scored the first basket of the second half to cut the lead to six. The Eagles then went on another run and an Amanda Witmer 3-pointer at 11:58 distanced UMW from the visitors by 13.
One minute later, York began an 11-2 streak over five minutes to pull within two points. With 3:48 left in the contest, Haley's layup cut the Eagles' lead to 39-38. UMW answered right back with baskets by Dye and Aby Diop in the final two minutes to force York to start fouling. Dye and Claire Haeuptle would then prove themselves from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
Partonen added nine boards to compliment her 15 points. Dye's 14 points came off a 6 for 9 effort from the field. Howland also finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Hicks led the Spartans with 15 points and nine boards. Haley and Wallpher poured in 11 points apiece.
Mary Washington, though cooling off from the field in the second half, finished at 36.4 percent. York was held to just 31.6 percent. The Eagles' held a slight edge in rebounds at 41-39. Both squads combined to shoot 3 for 27 from beyond the arc.
UMW will battle for the CAC tournament title at Marymount University on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.