Marymount 83, Rutgers-Camden 80
Poor free throw shooting nearly caused Marymount to make a quick exit from the NCAA Division III tournament.
Although the Saints missed 11 of 20 foul shots in the final two minutes, they held on to defeat Rutgers-Camden, 83-80, in a second-round game before 875 at Verizon Sports Arena last night. With the win, Marymount (23-6) makes its third straight trip to the round of 16, in which it will meet Messiah (27-2) on Friday. The site will be determined today.
Rutgers-Camden (22-7) had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Cheryl Kulesa's 30-foot shot at the buzzer bounced off the backboard, hit the front of the rim then fell away.
"That looked awfully good after the buzzer went off," said Marymount Coach Bill Finney, who recorded his 400th career win.
Marymount seemed to have the game in hand when it led by 14 with 12 minutes to play. The Saints had done a nice job containing Kulesa, one of 10 finalists for the Jostens Trophy, awarded annually to the Division III player of the year.
But before Marymount could pull away, Rutgers-Camden started intentionally fouling the Saints and sending them to the foul line. Marymount, weary from the fast-paced game and anxious about the outcome, missed free throw after free throw.
"We just lost our concentration," said guard Annetta Benjamin (Hayfield), who had 17 points.
Rutgers-Camden took advantage of the Saints' poor free throw shooting and started chipping away at their lead. Behind Kulesa, who scored 16 of her game-high 25 points in the final nine minutes, Rutgers-Camden cut their deficit to 81-77 with 26 seconds left.
After Ashlee Courter made a pair of free throws to extend Marymount's lead to six, Megan Rulon sank a three-pointer with 12 seconds remaining to pull the Lady Raptors within three.
Rutgers-Camden fouled Randi Jones with four seconds left. Jones missed both her free throws, giving the Lady Raptors a chance to send the game into overtime. When Kulesa's shot didn't fall, Marymount celebrated.
The Saints, who had won three of their last four games by an average of 26 points, escaped with the victory because of their balance. Led by Jodie Knotts's 21 points, Marymount had five players score in double figures. Katie Jarvis, who had 14 points, grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds. Benjamin had four steals, and Courter added 13 points.