WILKES-BARRE, Pa. - The Lady Monarch Classic championship was within the grasp of Salisbury University on Saturday afternoon but was ripped away by the Neumann College women's basketball team in the final minutes. Neumann took its first and only lead with less then six minutes left in the game en route to the 78-72 victory at King's (Pa.) College.
Salisbury (4-7) finished 1-1 in the two-day tournament as the Sea Gulls defeated Norwich University, 68-52, on Friday evening. SU juniors Monica Merkel and Lindsay Martin were named to the all-tournament team.
Neumann's Krista DiRomualdo (12 points) drained a three-pointer at the 5:50 mark to give the Knights a 61-59 lead on Saturday. The Knights' biggest lead was six with two minutes left in the game. Tournament Most Valuable Player Brittany Whetts scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the victory for the Knights (6-5). In addition, Whetts had three blocks and two assists in the championship game. Neumann had four players score double figures.
Merkel led the Sea Gulls with 25 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in the six-point loss. Martin added 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Forward Kylie Hall was the other Sea Gull to reach double figures as she made a season-high 13 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
Salisbury led 37-34 at the half as Neumann closed out the opening half on an 8-1 run in the final three minutes.
The Knights were sent to the free-throw line 32 times and made 23 (71.9 percent) as Neumann shot 45.6 percent from the field for the game. Salisbury shot 40.6 from the field and over 60 percent from the free throw line and three-point range (66.7 percent).
On Friday, Salisbury led the entire game against Norwich as the Sea Gulls' largest lead reached 16 late in the second half. Merkel led the Sea Gulls with 14 points followed by Martin (13 points) and Shaniece Roseborough (12 points) and Marissa Manzo (12 points). Manzo added a game and season-high 10 rebounds to complete the double-double. The 12 points by Roseborough and Manzo were season highs.
SU led 37-26 at the half against Norwich (1-8). The Sea Gulls shot 51.6 percent from the field in the first half and finished 42.2 percent for the game. The maroon and gold was over 80 percent from the free-throw line (13-for-16).
The Sea Gulls will travel to Ewing, N.J., on Monday to face The College of New Jersey for a 6 p.m. non-conference game.