Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville women's basketball team won their first round playoff game over the Penn State-Altoona Lions on Wednesday evening by the final score of 79-69.
D'Youville came out firing as Sara Pfeiffer (Olean, NY/Olean) drilled back-to-back threes with a Haley Kirisits (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) layup as the women lead 8-4 through nearly two minutes. Over the next several minutes, the Spartans would increase their lead to eight following a Kirisits jumper to make the lead 17-9. As the first went on, the Spartans would continue to roll as Pfeiffer drilled another lead to make it a 13-point lead. However, the Lions would trim their deficit to six as D'Youville led 23-17 after one.
It took several minutes for the two teams to get going on the offensive end in the second quarter, but Altoona pulled to within five after 3:04 of play in the quarter. The two teams would go back-and-forth for a majority of the second with the Lions pulling to within three on a made jumper. Despite the Spartans hitting timely shots, the Lions would stick right with D'Youville as they trailed by two with 2:15 remaining in the half. Kelsey Carpenter (Hilton, NY/Hilton) would help keep the Spartans going with a made jumper to extend the lead back to four. Free throws from Emmalea Erlandson (West Valley, NY/Ellicottville) and Elizabeth Bradley (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) would help send the women into the half leading 43-38.
The Spartans came out hot in the third quarter to reestablish their double-digit lead. Sarah Wittek (Elma, NY/Iroquois) capped off a 6-0 scoring run to begin the half for the women with D'Youville leading 49-38 as the freshman scored three consecutive baskets for the women. The two Sara(h)s and Kirisits would power the offense in the third with the two combining to score the first 17 points of the quarter as the women went ahead 60-46. Brigid McKeone (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) would then cap off the third with back-to-back baskets as D'Youville led 66-52 at the end of the three.
Altoona did not score until the 6:46 mark of the fourth quarter as the D'Youville defense shut down the Lion's offense. Another Wittek layup grew the Spartan's lead to their largest of the game at 18 with a 74-56 lead with 5:37 to go in regulation. The Lions would score a few baskets with under a minute to go in the game, but their deficit was too large to overcome as D'Youville moved on to the AMCC semifinals with a 79-69 victory over Altoona.
Pfeiffer led the team with 27 points while Kirisits scored 13 to go with seven boards. Wittek earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Danielle Hore (Orchard Park, NY/Orchard Park) scored seven with seven assists and six rebounds. Bradley added four points with three rebounds.
Erlandson was big off the bench for the Spartans with six points while McKeone grabbed eight rebounds with four points. Sydney Alton (Hannibal, NY/Hannibal) scored a pair as Carpenter scored four. Riley Riedel (Marilla, NY/Iroquois) and Ashley Schenkel (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) each played valuable minutes for the women in the victory.
D'Youville moves on to face the second seeded Hilbert Hawks this Friday, February 29. The game will be played at La Roche, the top overall seed in the playoffs. Tip-off is set for 8:30pm.