PITTSBURGH, PA – IT'S A THREE-PEAT! La Roche women's basketball (24-2) won their third consecutive AMCC Conference Championship and clinched the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 63-58 win over Penn State Behrend (17-10) on Saturday. La Roche becomes just the second AMCC team to win three-straight conference championships.
"I'm so proud of this group," said Coach Gissendanner. "They played with 7 to 8 girls game in and game out and still came out on top as AMCC Regular Season Champions and Tournament Champions and that is a huge accomplishment."
La Roche and the visiting Lions fought back and forth during the first ten minutes of the championship but the Lady Redhawks embarked on a 7-0 to take a 33-20 lead into the half. LaShauna Brothers finished with 13 first half points, while turnovers played a key role in the La Roche lead. They forced 12 turnovers while committing just 3, and outscored Penn State Behrend 20-3 off of turnovers.
Penn State Behrend started the second half on a 14-4 run to cut the deficit to 3 points, but they would get no closer as La Roche answered with their own 11-0 run. The run was highlighted by a three point play by Jessica Pitts. The Lions cut the lead to single digits in the final four minutes, but La Roche went 8 for 13 from the line to win their third straight championship.
Coach Gissendanner wanted to credit the visiting Lions for playing a great game.
"Hats off to Penn State Behrend. They never backed down, never gave up, and fought until there was zero time on the clock."
Pitts reached double-figures for her third consecutive championship game and finished with 20 points and 9 rebounds. She went 7 for 11 from the floor. Brothers finished with 19 points and Shataya White added 10 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Casie Cygan chipped in 7 points and Amanda Garland contributed 3 blocks and 4 important free throws.
La Roche and Penn State Behrend finished with the same amount of field goals (22) and rebounds (27), but the difference came at the charity stripe where the Lady Redhawks converted 6 more free throws. They also forced 25 Penn State Behrend turnovers and outscored them 31-12 off of turnovers.
"Now it's on to the NCAA Tournament. We're really excited to see where we will land and who we will play."
The Lady Redhawks will discover their opponent on Monday in the NCAA Tournament selection show at 2:30PM. You can stream it live at ncaa.com.