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HAMBURG, NY – La Roche College, the top team in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, coasted to a 74-46 victory over Hilbert College in women’s basketball which closed out the regular season schedule for both teams. La Roche improved to 17-1 (22-2 overall) and will now focus on claiming their third consecutive play-off championship and automatic bid to the NCAA tourney, while Hilbert ended their season 1-17 and 3-22 overall. Prior to the tip off, senior Amber Grosch was honored for her four years of service to the women’s basketball program.
La Roche’s Cassie Cygan made 10 of her 20 shots, and was 5-of-8 at the foul line to lead all scores with 27 points. Jessica Pitts, the AMCC preseason player of the year, earned game high honors with 7 steals, 8 assists and 14 rebounds flirting with a quadruple double, scoring 9 points. Natalie Whitman finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds to claim her ninth double-double while Sarah Lorusso chipped in 11 points and four steals for Hilbert. Grosch earned 6 rebounds and made three foul shots and had one steal in her final basketball contest.
Lorusso came off the bench and sank three consecutive shots off penetration to keep the Hawks close (13-8). Whitman was aggressive on the offensive glass working tip-ins in her favor to carry Hilbert with 9 points by the break. La Roche made 18 of 34 attempts from the floor shooting a hot 52.9% with unselfish passing to take a 40-22 lead to the break. Made free throws (7-12) and offensive rebounds gave Hilbert some purpose, but their 21 turnovers against La Roche’s defensive athleticism hurt the Hawks’ offensive production. LaShauna Brothers led all scorers with 11 points and Pitts dishes 6 first-half assists for the RedHawks.
By 11:29 left in the second period, La Roche stretched their lead to 31 points mainly off transition scores. The Hawks won the rebounding battle (30-21) in the second half securing 11 offensive boards. Hilbert forced La Roche into 29.7% shooting from the floor holding them to 15% from beyond the arc. Erin Smith was a workhorse earning four rebounds in her six minutes of court time late in the game.
The AMCC play-offs begin this coming Tuesday with the 3rd and 4th seeded teams hosting a first round game. #1 and #2 earned byes into the semi-final games, which will be played February 22 at La Roche College. The championship game is scheduled for February 23 and the winner gets the leagues automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national tournament.
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