UR Women win Friday, advance in NCAA Tournament
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Alexandra Leslie scored 16 points and Lizzy Atkinson added 12 more – all on three-pointers – as the University of Rochester defeated Stevens Institute of Technology, 69-57, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Playoffs at the Louis Alexander Palestra.
Rochester improved to 22-4. Stevens finished at 15-13. UR is ranked #16 by D3hoops.com and #15 by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Rochester will play Marymount University of Virginia in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday night. The winner of that game advances to the Sectional Semifinals (aka Sweet 16) next weekend. Marymount advanced by holding off MIT, 58-54, in the first game. The Saints are 25-3. They are ranked #17 in both polls.
The Yellowjackets sank five three point goals in the first half, four in the opening quarter as they moved in front, 43-25, at intermission. Atkinson finished with four, Lauren Foley had two, and Jillian Silvestri made one. Silvestri had nine points on 4-4 accuracy from the field, 1-1 on treys.
The Stevens points came inside. The Ducks scored 32 points in the paint, led by Megan Brown and Alison Criswell. Each had 16 points. Maddi Hahn had 10 points, including a pair of treys.
“We knew they would try to put up a defense to stop us inside,” said Rochester head coach Jim Scheible. “Lizzy and Lauren Foley each made three-pointers.”
Atkinson and Foley made three-point shots a minute apart in the middle of the period as Rochester opened a 13-7 lead. “We were practicing all week getting (three-point) shots,” Atkinson said.
That opened the floor for Leslie to get going. She had some layups and then hit a series of mid-range jumpshots. She finished hitting 7 of 11 from the field.
“They’re a good team,” Stevens coach Megan Haughey said of Rochester. “Getting stops (against them) is a little more difficult. They did a good job of pressuring us defensively.”
The Yellowjackets did score 20 points of 19 Stevens turnovers, but the Ducks produced 17 points of their own off of 19 UR turnovers. Eight of those points came in the fourth quarter when the Ducks outscored Rochester 22-11.
Stevens qualified for the NCAA playoffs as the Empire 8 champion. The Ducks defeated St. John Fisher last week on the road after losing to the Cardinals in both regular season games. That provided a spark of confidence. “Beating Fisher was one of the greatest parts of the season,” said Brown. “We were ready for Rochester. I’m happy with the heart we put out. We left everything on the floor.”
Leslie changed her tactics offensively. “More finesse,” she said. “I realized they weren’t going to try to block my shot. I could shoot over them."