King’s Drops Game, But Still Makes Playoffs
WILKES-BARRE — The demeanor of the King’s women’s basketball team changed in the amount of time it took the Monarchs to walk through the postgame handshake line on Saturday afternoon after Manhattanville held on for a 76-71 victory at McGrane Gymnasium.
The emotions of not knowing whether or not their season was officially over or if there will be at least one more game was certainly weighing on their minds, but thanks to a little bit of help from around the MAC Freedom conference, the Monarchs were able to qualify for the conference tournament.
And Caitlin Hadzimichalis can hit the reset button and prepare for the postseason.
Despite dropping Saturday’s regular-season finale, Eastern and Delaware Valley both lost, allowing King’s to secure the fourth seed in the four-team tournament that begins Wednesday. King’s will travel to face top-seed DeSales in its opening round game with a 6 p.m.
But it definitely beats the alternative of not qualifying at all.
“I didn’t get any scores (from other games),” Hadzimichalis said. “The second the horn went off at the end of the game I asked our sports information director what the score was. We shook hands, then he told us we are in.”
The loss dropped the Monarchs to 12-13 overall and 6-8 in conference. It was also a day to honor seniors Alexis Steeber and Lindsey Dippre, who both played a big part in the game against the Valiants.
Steeber finished with 20 points, giving her 995 for her career. Dippre came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers and finish with nine points. They both contributed to a third quarter run that saw King’s take a 49-48 lead at the 2:10 mark after Emily Kriston drove to the basket for a layup.
While the third-quarter run gave the Monarchs plenty of hope that they would end the regular season on a winning note, it was a second quarter run from Manhattanville that changed the momentum of the game.
With King’s holding a 31-19 lead, the Valiants outscored King’s 15-4 over the final 4:05 of the first half. King’s made just one shot from the floor during the stretch, a basket down low by Rebecca Prociak. The other two points came on free throws from Mackenzie Yori.
“I don’t think I have done a good enough job getting us to where we need to be up to this point,” Hadzimichalis said. “I think it is more me getting us in the right spots to call things. Emily Kriston came in and picked up the slack. She started calling stuff and that was when we made our run in the third quarter.”
Dippre made a 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter to tie the game at 52 but a 3-pointer from Sarah Coutu put the Valiants back on top to stay.
King’s managed to close the gap to a point twice in the fourth quarter, and had a chance to tie the game with 14.7 seconds left. But a turnover gave the ball back to the Valiants who then made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.
“It’s a completely new season now,” Hadzimichalis said. “Just get in. It doesn’t matter how and it doesn’t have to be pretty. Just get in.”
Manhattanville ended the season 17-7 overall and 8-6 in the conference will also advance to the playoffs. The Valiants will play at No. 2 seed Misericordia on Wednesday night.
Mikaele 4 3-5 11, McGuire 6 7-8 19, Pemberton 4 0-0 8, Shore 3 3-4 11, Coutu 5 3-4 16, Catalano 2 0-0 4, Nichols-Larosa 3 0-0 7. Totals: 27 16-21 76.
Steeber 8 4-5 20, Prociak 4 9-10 17, Yori 3 2-2 8, Dillinger 0 0-0 0, Rajza 5 4-7 15, Dippre 3 0-0 9, Wolbert 0 0-0 0, Kriston 1 0-0 2. Totals: 24 19-24 71.
Manhattanville16 18 21 21 — 76
King’s 15 20 17 19 — 71
3-point goals: M — Coutu (3), Shore (2) Nichols-Larosa; K — Dippre (3), Rajza
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