ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – Junior Sabria Lytes gave the Thomas Jefferson University women's basketball team (18-11) the lead with 2:10 remaining and the defense came up big down the stretch as the Rams defeated host Dominican (15-14), 73-70 in a CACC quarterfinal game on Tuesday.
It was the 10th consecutive win for Jefferson, who is the third seed in the South Division. The Rams advance to take on the tournament's top seed, USciences, in the semifinals on Saturday, March 7 at 12 p.m. The Devils are hosting the semifinals and finals of the CACC playoffs.
The Chargers, who were the North Division's second seed, opened the game with eight straight points. Jefferson responded with six to cut the deficit to two. With Dominican ahead 12-8, the Rams rallied for eight points to go in front 16-12. Lytes and freshman Haley Meinel each had four points in the stretch. Jefferson maintained a four-point advantage (20-16) into the second quarter.
Dominican had a strong start to the second, pouring in the first 14 points to take a 30-20 lead. With the score 34-25, the Rams got hot again, netting eight points in a row to make it a one-point game (34-33) with 1:33 on the clock. The Chargers had the last five points of the half and led 39-33 at the break.
In the third, Dominican had the first bucket to up the margin to eight (41-33). Jefferson came back with nine of the next 11 to get back within one (43-42). Senior Alynna Williams hit two three-pointers and sophomore Maddie Haney had one. Williams drilled another three to tie the score at 45 with 4:45 remaining. It was the first of three ties over the next two minutes. Trailing by two (51-49), Williams dropped another triple and junior Allie Warren made a jumper for a 54-51 Rams' lead. They were up by one (54-53) going to the fourth.
Warren and freshman Morgan Robinson connected from beyond the arc early in the fourth around a Chargers' three to make the score 60-56. After a jumper closed the gap to two, Jefferson posted six of the next eight to lead by six (66-60) with 6:13 to go. Dominican got within one with a three-pointer and a layup. Meinel made two free throws (3:36) to make it 68-65 but the Chargers hit a three to tie it at 2:27. Lytes then drew a foul and made both shots to put the Rams back in front (2:10). Dominican missed its next two shots and Meinel recorded a layup (1:07) for a four-point Jefferson advantage (72-68).
The Chargers laid one in at the 54 second mark to trail by two (72-70). The Rams missed their next shot and Dominican grabbed the rebound but Robinson swiped the ball (0:22). Williams drew a foul and made one free throw to make it 73-70 with 10 seconds to play. After a timeout, the Chargers tried a game-tying three from the left corner but missed. Dominican grabbed the rebound along the baseline and attempted to kick it out but Meinel intercepted the pass to seal the victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Williams had a team-high 19 points and added five rebounds and three assists. She shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
- Lytes totaled 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. She grabbed six rebounds.
- Meinel tallied 12 points, six boards, four steals and two assists.
- Robinson contributed nine points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals.
- Warren produced nine points, four rebounds and four blocks off the bench.
AS A TEAM
- The Rams shot 42.4% (28-of-66) from the floor, 40.0% (8-of-20) from three-point distance and 81.8% (9-of-11) from the line.
- Jefferson held Dominican to just 33.3% (12-of-36) shooting in the second half. Outside of the second quarter, the Chargers shot just 32.1% (17-of-53).
- The Rams committed just nine turnovers while forcing 16.
- Williams climbed within two of Rachel Day's all-time record for career three-pointers (239).
- Jefferson made it three straight years with at least one CACC Tournament victory.
- It was head coach Tom Shirley's 795th career win (646 at Jefferson).