Leafs News
Sears Cracks Scoring Top Ten In Final Career Contest
News Photo
Goshen College 13-181022101254
Marian University 28-32519221682
Feb. 21, 2017
Marian University PE Center
Attendance: 269
Goshen CollegeIndv. LeadersMarian University
#25 Prigge, Alyson - 17Points #01 Jessica Almeida - 19
#25 Prigge, Alyson - 9Rebounds #24 Jenna Sullivan - 12
#30 Sears, Sophia - 8Assists #01 Jessica Almeida - 5
Goshen CollegeTeam StatisticsMarian University
35.2% (19 - 54) Field Goals % 54.2% (32 - 59)
28% (7 - 25) 3 Point Field Goals % 36.8% (7 - 19)
100% (9 - 9) Free Throws 61.1% (11 - 18)
32Rebounds 34
13Assists 17
18Turnovers 9
22nd Chance Pts 5
Women's Basketball - Wed, Feb. 22, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — Sophia Sears moved into 10th place on the all-time Goshen College women's basketball scoring list and Alyson Prigge scored a team-high 17 points Wednesday night as Marian University finished Goshen's season with an 82-54 win in the Crossroads League tournament quarterfinals.

Prigge added nine rebounds, the most of her career and the most by any Maple Leaf in Tuesday's game, while Donnae Lipinski set new career highs with 11 points and six rebounds.

Goshen (13-18) jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first two-plus minutes behind 3-pointers from Lipinski and Prigge. Marian (28-3), the defending champion of both the conference and national tournaments, missed three of its first four shots but stormed back to make 16 of the next 28 and led 25-10 at the quarter.

Counting a pair of Caitlyn O'Neal free throws as a single unit, Goshen's first seven scores of the second stanza came from seven different players as the Maple Leafs won the quarter 22-19. Prigge scored eight points in the quarter, including a trey at the 6:48 mark that pulled her team within 28-22 and the final five points before halftime. Marian led by 12 at the intermission.

Goshen's shooting cooled off to 9-for-26 in the second half; unfortunately for GC, Marian's did not, as the Knights went 15-for-27 in the final 20 minutes and finished the game shooting at a 54.2 percent clip (32-for-59). Marian was 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) from long range and 11-for-18 (61.1 percent) at the foul line.

The Maple Leafs made all nine of their free-throw attempts, tying for the most foul shots without a miss in the last decade. GC finished 19-for-54 (35.2 percent) overall and 7-for-25 (28 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Sears finished with a game-high eight assists and, while she got the points she needed to pass 1988 graduate Dawn Gerber and move into 10th place in GC history, it took a dozen shots and more than 37 minutes.

Sears entered the game with 1,189 points, needing seven to tie Gerber and eight to pass her outright, and scored two in the first 29 minutes. But she added a layup just before the end of the third quarter, pulled level on a 3-pointer 81 seconds into the fourth period, and cracked the top-10 for good on a driving layup from the left side of the lane with 2:14 to play.

For good measure, Sears was fouled on the play, providing the best foul shooter in GC history one more chance to demonstrate that talent. She sank the free throw, moving her final career totals to 1,199 points and an 84.4 percent clip at the foul line. The record books will also show her third all-time with 435 assists, fourth with 256 steals, second at 41.5 percent from 3-point range, and 10th with 265 made free throws, despite missing more than half a season over the course of her career.

Among the seniors who played Tuesday, Calla Bartlett is the only other one with a top-10 career placing: she will graduate this spring with a 34.3 percent clip from three-point range, ninth all-time and third-best in the last dozen years. But her lone basket in this game came inside the block: after missing the last two games of the regular season and more than 39 minutes of the contest with an injury, she checked in with 34 seconds left and hit a layup assisted by Sears for the final points of the night.

Bartlett aside, all seven Maple Leafs who saw action finished with at least three points and two rebounds in 22 minutes. Lipinski, Sears, Prigge and Kelsey Fraley all played 30 minutes or more.

"Tonight was about the seniors," Goshen coach Stephanie Miller said. "It was a good way to send them out and say goodbye. They gave us all that they had, showed class and grace, and made sure we came together to play like a family. I was so happy that Sophia was able to play in this final game and lead us on the court once more, so proud of Kelsey for always playing hard and giving us a spark, and so proud to watch Calla, our emotional leader, enter the game once more and score the final basket."

Marian got a game-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from Jessica Almeida to go along with 16 from Dejah Cyrus, who was perfect on six field-goal tries. Kellie Kirkhoff scored 15 points and Joana Soeiro added 10. Jenna Sullivan contributed a game-high 12 caroms, but the Knights only out-rebounded the Maple Leafs 34-32.

Goshen finished the game with fewer assists than Marian by a 17-13 margin, but assisted on 68 percent of its field goals. The Knights forced 18 turnovers while giving the ball up nine times.

"Tonight, for us, was about more than basketball," Miller said. "It was so incredibly humbling to lead these ladies to battle tonight as we came together. I was proud of my players who were fearless, put forth a brave effort and played for one another. We had to overcome some obstacles this evening and we played Marian tougher than we had in previous games this season."

Tuesday night marked the fewest points by Marian and the most by Goshen in any head-to-head meeting this season. While the game between the highest and lowest seeds in the CL tournament, somewhat predictably, produced the largest margin of victory of the night, the 28-point MU win was just eight points larger than the second-largest margin—and that loser, Indiana Wesleyan, used 13 players to Goshen's eight.

"Alyson Prigge and Donnae Lipinski gave us very mentally tough performances tonight, giving us a glimpse of what's to come with those two in the future," Miller said. The freshman forward duo combined for more than half of Goshen's points and one shy of half of the rebounds. Their three blocks, all from Lipinski, were more than five of the eight tournament teams posted Tuesday.

Marian advances to meet Grace on Friday in a CL tournament semifinal; the championship is Tuesday. The tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Champion. Since the Knights already have a bid as the league's regular-season champion, if Marian also wins the tournament, the second bid will go to the runner-up, the winner of the Huntington-Saint Francis semifinal on Friday.

The loss ends Goshen's 2016-17 season; the class of 2017 graduates with 62 wins, which matches the class of 2003 for the third-most in school history. Their 32 conference wins, not including a CL tournament victory last fall, are the most in program history, while the eight postseason games are the most since the NAIA began women's basketball playoffs in 1981.

Seven players on Goshen's roster will have remaining eligibility for the 2017-18 season, which will begin in late October or early November with the schedule announced in August. Stay tuned to GoLeafs.net or follow the team on Twitter at @GCW_Hoops for the latest developments throughout the summer.