MONTCLAIR, NJ – The La Roche women's basketball closed the 2016-17 season with a terrific effort in their NCAA Tournament First Round Game against UMass Dartmouth. The Redhawks fought hard for all sixty minutes but came up just short, falling 71-64.
Sabrina McLin and Mackenzie O'Donnell close their careers as the school's top 2 leading scorers. TiChina Mitchell and Danasha Harris end their's as 1000 point scorers and Gloria Schifino as one of the school's leaders in assists.
UMass Dartmouth could not hang with the Redhawks' athleticism early. Danasha Harris slipped right through the Corsairs defense on the first possession and two possessions later McLin drained an open three for a 6-2 lead.
UMass Dartmouth tied it at 6-6 with 6:30 left in the first quarter but the Redhawks turned two straight Corsair turnovers into an 11-6 lead. Harris took it coast to coast while McLin hit her second three in two minutes to force a UMass Dartmouth timeout.
Mitchell sunk a three-pointer out of the timeout for a 14-6 advantage. Darrian Johnson continued the Redhawks hot shooting with a three and 17-7 lead and three minutes left in the first. La Roche closed the half with four points from O'Donnell and two from McLin for a 23-12 first quarter lead.
UMass Dartmouth cut the lead to 23-18. Mitchell ended the drought with a short jumper but the Corsairs used a 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game. Both teams traded baskets over the next two minutes and a Mitchell three made it 32-31 UMass Dartmouth at the half.
McLin led all scorers with 11 first half points to go along with 4 steals. Mitchell contributed 10 points and went 2 for 2 from distance.
UMass Dartmouth opened the third with 6 of 8 points. The Redhawks came out in zone defense on the next possession making things difficult for UMass Dartmouth. Darrian Johnson hit a three to cut it to five and O'Donnell followed with a midrange jumper. The Corsairs scored the next five points and La Roche was forced to call a timeout.
O'Donnell buried a shot from the same exact spot out of the timeout. The Redhawks forced a turnover and McLin drove through the lane to cut it five. UMass Dartmouth followed with four straight points but Harris limited the damage with a coast to coast steal at the end of the third.
After a Corsairs' free throw, McLin made a tough driving move to get the Redhawks within four. UMass Dartmouth followed with a layup but a Mitchell turnaround jumper and Darrian Johnson pullup jumper got La Roche within two with 6:45 left in regulation.
UMass Dartmouth called and timeout and caught momentum with four straight points. La Roche missed an easy bucket but McLin stopped the run with a jumper from the elbow and O'Donnell converted 1 of 2 free throws.
Three quick fouls allowed UMass Dartmouth to take an eight point lead with under two minutes to play. Mitchell gave the Redhawks life hitting two free throws. Johnson immediately stole the inbounds play and Mitchell cut it to three with 1:09 left.
La Roche got the stop they needed and a chance to tie it. The Redhawks got an open look for three with 15 seconds left, but the shot caught front rim and UMass Dartmouth held on.
Mitchell scored 19 points and hit 7 of 8 shots. McLin finished with 17 points while O'Donnell had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Redhawks shot 41% (24 of 58) to UMass Dartmouth's 47% (27 of 57).