Women's Hoops Advances to Championship

Women's Hoops Advances to Championship

MADISON, N.J. – The Shenandoah University women's basketball team will play for the 2016 Rose City Classic championship after downing tournament host Drew University 77-61 Saturday night.

Shenandoah (2-0) jumped all over the host Rangers (1-1) in the second quarter as SU turned a 19-15 first quarter advantage into a 41-21 lead by halftime.

The Hornets scored the initial 12 points of the second, and after Drew combined a jumper with one of two from the line, reeled off a 10-3 run to complete the stanza and take that 20-point lead into the break.

Junior Kirstyn Arcata, who was one of five women in double figures, sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around the halftime intermission to keep the pressure on.

Coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft, who set the Rose City Classic scoring records for points in a game and in the tournament, saw her club balloon its lead by an additional six points in the third period.

"It was so special to come back here and have the team play in this tournament," Smeltzer-Kraft, who was honored with her former Drew teammates prior to the game for their 2004 ECAC championship, said.

"The (SU) players had that motivation to play well."

Drew scored 20 of the game's final 30 points, but Shenandoah was able to coast home to the win thanks to a lead that reached 29 points by the waning moments of the third quarter.

Senior Mary Severin led those five women in double figures with a career-high 16 points. She was a perfect 6 for 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line.

"I am very happy that we had such even distribution of the scoring. We have to have that if we are going to be successful.

"Mary has been such a spark off the bench for us."

In addition to Severin's 16, Arcata had 15, Ashley Oakes 14, Sarah Donley 13 and Erin French 11 to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds. Shenandoah owned a 41-22 advantage on the glass.

The Hornets face Middlebury in Sunday's 2 p.m. championship game. The Panthers advanced with a 62-53 win over Wittenberg in Friday's opening game of the tournament.

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