Region title on the line for Cal U
CALIFORNIA – The stage is set.
As expected, No. 1 California (31-1) faces No. 2 Glenville State (29-2) at 7 p.m. today at Hamer Hall in the NCAA Division II East Region championship game.
Picking up its title ticket Saturday night was tougher for California than Glenville State.
The Vulcans outscored West Chester, 8-2, in the final 112 seconds to pull out a 62-58 victory after the Pioneers disposed of Longwood, Va., 63-51.
California’s hero turned out to be freshman Megan Stork, who was suffering through possibly the worst game of her young collegiate career.
Storck had missed all 10 of her shots from the floor including four from behind the circle before hitting a three-pointer with 1:52 remaining to give California 57-56 lead.
“She’s a young kid and got frustrated but she’s a shooter and I’ll never tell her to stop shooting,” said California coach Darcie Vincent.
After Storck hit the three, West Chester had a chance to tie or go ahead 18 seconds later but Shauna Palmer missed the front end of a one-and-one and Cal’s Sara McKinney came up with the rebound.
Susie Gyrafas,who finished with a game-high 17 points, then scored with 30 seconds left to give the Vulcans a three-point cushion.
After Storck hit the front end of a one-and-one to make it 60-56 with 11seconds to go, the Golden Rams’ Kiesha Mack cut the lead to two with two seconds on the clock before McKinney closed the scoring with 1.6 seconds left on the scoreboard.
“Champions step up,” said Vincent. “That’s why we’re 31-1.”
A back problem didn’t stop California star Becky Siembak from playing 38 minutes and contributing 14 points and 13 rebounds.
“My back was really feeling good,” said Siembak, who quieted the crowd when she took a charge on one occasion and crashed into the padded wall on another. “There was no way I was coming out of the game.”
Coming off a two-point performance in Friday’s quarterfinal win over Millersville, McKinney had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Besides scoring 17 points, the 6-9 Gyrafas had seven rebounds and blocked three shots to raise her season total to 125 breaking the school and PSAC mark of 122 she set last year.
Gyrafas, however, wasn’t pleased with her showing.
“I was horrible today,” she said after missing half of her 16 shots. “Some of my baskets surprised me. They were trying to beat me up.”
Gyarfas is excited about facing Glenville again.
“They embarrassed us,” said Gyrafas recalling last year’s 78-58 title loss when she was limited to four points and only one rebound. “We want revenge.”
Glenville State won even though its star player Tracy Wyatt sat our nearly nine minutes of the first half with three fouls.
Carrie Triplett led the way with a game-high 21 points while Wyatt finished with 17 including seven of eight at the foul line. Amanda Mortelellete added 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“Holding Longwood to 51 points was a monumental effort on defense,” said Glenville State coach Steve Harold.
Harold is looking forward to facing the Vulcans again.
“We’re well aware they’re a quality team,” he said. “We’ll watch tape of them tonight (Saturday) and sleep on it,” he said. “We’ll give it our best shot.”
LEFTOVERS: Cal has won 15 straight while Glenville has won 10-in-a-row. Glenville owns a 70-56 win over Pitt-Johnstown, which handed the Vulcans their lone defeat. In last year’s East Region title game, California’s Sameera Philyaw topped all scorers with 19 points followed by Stacia Hamilton and McKinney with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Wyatt had 16 points for the Pioneers. Glenville outrebounded Cal, 31-24. The Pioneers made 16 of 25 shots in the first half en route to a comfortable 38-23 lead. West Chester closed at 24-8 with Longwood finishing at 27-5. Longwood will move up to Division 1 next season.