ARLINGTON, Va. - The Salisbury University women's basketball team never gave up in the second half of Thursday night's Capital Athletic Conference semifinal tournament game in Arlington, Va., against second-seed Marymount (Va.) University. The sixth-seed Sea Gulls battled back from a 10-point halftime deficit to take the lead three different times and were within a bucket of a fourth lead change as the final seconds ticked off the scoreboard.
Marymount's Terrell White (22 points, six rebounds) dashed all hopes of another Salisbury upset in this year's CAC tournament as the guard drained a three-pointer with 27 seconds left to give the Saints a 71-66 lead. The Saints tacked on four free throws by Meredith Levison to close out the win.
Salisbury finishes its first season under Coach Charisse Mapp with a 12-15 record and 8-8 mark in the CAC.
The Saints (23-4) advance to their third straight CAC championship where Marymount will face top-seed and nationally ranked University of Mary Washington on Saturday, March 1, in Fredericksburg, Va. The No. 6 Eagles (25-2) defeated fourth-seed York (Pa.) College, 71-58, in the other semifinal game. UMW has won three of the last four CAC titles.
Salisbury had a chance in the final minute as junior Monica Merkel (16 points) made a lay-up with 1:14 left in the game to cut the Saints' lead to four, 68-64. Merkel then came up with a steal and made another lay-up 15 seconds later to push SU to within two with less then a minute in the game. MU milked the next possession before White hit her three-pointer as the shot clock time expired.
Marymount started the game on a 16-4 run and led by 19 points with less then five minutes to go in the first half, its biggest lead of the game. Salisbury then went on a 17-8 run to close out the half as the Saints held onto a 40-30 advantage at the intermission.
Salisbury came out on fire in the second half as the Sea Gulls went on an 18-8 run to knot the game at 48 with 14 minutes left. Salisbury took its first lead, 52-50, at the 11:35 mark on a lay-up by junior Lindsay Martin (16 points, five assists). Marymount's Kathryn Wilson (12 points, seven rebounds) quickly tied the game at 52 before Martin drained a three-pointer 21 seconds later to give Salisbury its biggest lead of the night, 55-52, with 11:04 left in the game. The Saints' Stephanie Witko (16 points, 13 rebounds) scored the next two baskets to erase the Sea Gull lead.
SU took its final lead, 57-56, at the 7:59 mark when sophomore Janay Johnson scored two of her eight points off the bench for the Sea Gulls. Fellow sophomore forward Kylie Hall was the other Sea Gull in double figures as she scored 11 points.
The Sea Gulls scored 24 points off 18 turnovers by the Saints in the game. Salisbury committed a season-low 12 turnovers in the loss. Marymount controlled the boards with a 53-33 advantage and outscored the Sea Gulls 32-18 in the paint.