IUP's unlikely NCAA Tournament run ends against Edinboro
Published: Monday, March 12, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 10:03
The 2011-12 women's basketball season came to an end Saturday night in a second round Atlantic Region loss to No. 1 seed Edinboro, 70-56.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," IUP Head Coach Jeff Dow said. "Even in defeat."
"It was a special year and obviously the last couple weeks are about as memorable as any that I've had personally as a head coach. We definitely represented ourselves extremely well tonight," he added.
Junior forward Sarah Pastorek led the way for the Hawks and finished with a game high 26 points. She was the lone offensive threat for IUP. The Hawks had eight players score, but outside of Pastorek's production, sophomore Talen Watson was the next highest scorer with eight points.
"We didn't have a lot of great shooting performances," Dow said.
Dow was also quick to credit the Fighting Scots and their defense.
"Sometimes they kind of take you out of your rhythm a little bit in terms of what you'd like to do offensively," he said.
After the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, both teams shared 7-0 runs, and despite a few turnovers, IUP held a 9-7 lead just under five minutes into the game. The Crimson Hawks and Fighting Scots continued to battle for the next several minutes, trading baskets and were knotted at 15. However, the Scots capitalized on a few missed opportunities by the Hawks during the ensuing minutes and outscored the Hawks 10-2 to build a 25-17 advantage.
Offense was lacking for the Crimson Hawks in the first half. Freshman forward Ashley Stoner, Friday night's hero, was limited in action in the first half, playing only five minutes, and 10 the whole game.
"A lot of that was because of the pace of the game," Dow said. "But let's not kid ourselves, Ashley's performance last night [Friday] is a big reason why we're here tonight, best game of her career."
Dow went on to mention that the injuries that have sidelined Stoner this season, which include a torn MCL and a torn Labrum. They proved to be contributing factors to her not playing much.
The second half opened up with Edinboro scoring nine of the first 11 points to build its biggest lead of the game to that point, 49-34. Throughout the course of the second half, the Scots found themselves with a 16-point lead on two separate occasions, but that didn't stop the Hawks from fighting back.
"We really battled back and I think we cut it to eight if I can remember on a couple of occasions, so that certainly speaks to the heart of our team," Dow said.
Not only did the Hawks have to overcome a tough Edinboro team, but they also had to overcome a hostile Fighting Scots crowd, which is never an easy thing to do.
"Tough environment," Dow said. "Pretty big crowd that was into it, and obviously pro Edinboro as well."
"Obviously an extremely motivated Edinboro team, hosting the regional, of course obviously what happened to them last year, you knew they were going to come out and play with tremendous spirit and spunk. But I thought we matched that. Really the one area in particular was rebounding, and that's where we got hurt. They ended up outscoring us 23-9 in second chance points which coincidentally is the difference of 14 which is what we lost by."
The game was pretty evenly matched in the shooting department. IUP and Edinboro finished 40 percent and 41.3 percent respectively from the field, 18.2 and 21.4 from beyond the arc. The free throw percentage is what hurt the Hawks. They finished with a respectable 73.7 percent, but the Fighting Scots finished with 88.2 percent, which is one area that helped Edinboro seal the win.
"[IUP] played very hard," Edinboro Head Coach Stan Swank said. "Every time we have played they've gotten tougher and they've gotten the opportunity to understand us a little bit better and it gets tougher and tougher each time when you play somebody."
With the win, Edinboro looked to seek revenge in the Atlantic Region final against No. 2 seed Shaw on Monday, but came up short, 70-53. It was the second year in a row that Edinboro lost in the NCAA Tournament to Shaw.
For the Hawks, two seniors played their last game in an IUP uniform, and no one was more hurt by the loss than Arika Ullman and Vianca Tejada, two key contributors for the Hawks all season long.
"It's unexplainable what the feeling is like," Ullman said. "When I saw the final seconds run down I was like there's no tomorrow, there's no next year. " This year was amazing; my team was amazing so it's hard to leave that. I never thought this day would that I would be done playing college basketball, it came way too fast."
Ullman finished the game with four points. Tejada scored seven.
"To end the season this way is amazing," Tejada said. "It's hard to feel happy about it because we did lose, but I'm proud of our team, I couldn't ask for a better team, I'm definitely going to miss our team. All I can really think of is wishing them the best for next year."
Despite losing two leaders, Dow is looking forward to what the future can bring for the Crimson Hawks.
"The future looks very bright," Dow said. "Obviously you know three freshman starting tonight, five freshman that average double figure minutes, so that's exciting with all the returners plus the four incoming freshman that we have as well."