PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The La Roche College women's basketball team (22-4) overcame a tough first half to defeat the fifth-seeded Pitt-Bradford Panthers (15-12) 80-67 Friday night in the AMCC Tournament semifinals.
The top-seeded Lady Redhawks committed 11 turnovers and were out-rebounded 15-9 in an uncharacteristic opening frame. The visiting Panthers coughed up 17 turnovers, but shot 57% (13-23) from the field to take a 29-28 lead into the break.
Bradford extended its lead to 33-30 after back-to-back baskets to open the second half. Casie Cygan answered with a three to tie the game and ignite a ferocious La Roche rally.
Mackenzie O'Donnell followed with an offensive put-back to put La Roche ahead for good. Sabrina McLin followed by stealing an errant Panther pass and went coast-to-coast for the easy score. Cygan flushed consecutive three's to cap an 18-6 run for the Lady Redhawks, giving them a 48-39 lead with 10:55 remaining.
Bradford hit successive jumpers to creep within single digits at 63-55 with 2:19 left in the game, but Macy Pekala snuck free for a fast break lay up and Cygan made nine consecutive free throws to give La Roche the comfortable 80-67 victory.
Cygan poured in 35 points to become the all-time leading scorer in La Roche women's basketball history. Cygan's career total now sits at 1,553 points, surpassing Chantelle Jennings' previous mark of 1,535.
Alicia Kimmel paced the Panthers with 22 points, followed by Kaserra Owens with 18 points and Geena Sneeringer with 11 points.
With the win, the Lady Redhawks improve to 22-4 on the season and advance to the AMCC Tournament Finals for the fourth consecutive year.
The Lady Redhawks will face the winner of #2 Medaille vs. #3 Mount Aloysius with the AMCC automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in the Kerr Fitness Center.