IUP dashes Boro’s PSAC title hopes

Contributed Photo
Edinboro women’s basketball lost to IUP in the final game of the season.
IUP rolled by Boro 91-81

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor/Spectator

INDIANA, Pa. – In the final regular season matchup between Indiana (Pa.) and Edinboro, the Crimson Hawks held junior center Aignee’ Freeland to three points and four rebounds as IUP rolled by Boro, 91-81.

IUP perfected and executed the same attack against Freeland and limited the York, Pennsylvania, native to six points and no rebounds as #1 Indiana (Pa.) defeated #4 Edinboro, 71-63, in the PSAC quarterfinals at the Kovalchick Complex Tuesday night, denying the Scots their chance to defend their PSAC championship.

Edinboro (20-8) utilized a compilation of defensive looks against the Crimson Hawks, which saw success in the first half.

“What we were trying to do was shut down [Ashley] Stoner,” head coach Stan Swank said. “Stoner has had two great games against us and we wanted to jam the inside and we wanted to create pressure up front and make them do some things. The first half worked really well with Stoner. We kind of wanted to take her out of the game a little bit. I felt good with what we tried to do strategically and I thought our kids had a good grasp of what we wanted to do.”

The defensive ploy held Stoner to only four points in the first half and had ripple effects with her teammates as well as no Crimson Hawk had higher than six points at the break.

The Scots could not quite take advantage of their defensive efforts however as Edinboro mustered only 25 points in the first half. Freeland was relegated to the bench for the majority of the half with two personal fouls as she logged only 10 minutes.

Swank couldn’t quite put his finger on why Freeland struggled against Indiana (Pa.), but he’d like to know.

“I don’t know. If I knew that, we would have won,” he said.

The second half saw an offensive explosion as both squads combined for 81 points in the final 20 minutes of play.

Leading 28-25 coming out of the locker room, the Crimson Hawks opened up the second half with a quick 6-0 scoring run which swung the momentum IUP’s way.

A jumper by Stoner, who finished with 13 points, with 14:28 left kickstarted a healthy run for the Crimson Hawks as IUP went on a 6-0 run that gave the PSAC western division champions their first double-digit lead in the contest.

Edinboro slowly chipped away at the deficit and worked it back down to single digits and trailed 55-54 with 7:05 left after Lauren Hippo, who tied a career high with seven rebounds, kissed in a layup off the glass to cap off a 6-0 scoring run for the Scots.

IUP quickly grabbed back the momentum as Leslie Stapleton and Stamp knocked down back-to-back threepointers to surge the Crimson Hawks back into the lead 61-54.

Indiana (Pa.)’s success from beyond the arc was the theme of the night as IUP shot 12-28 while Edinboro, the leading three-point shooting team in Division II, connected on only four of their 16 attempts from downtown.

“They hit a lot of them when we went man-to-man,” Swank said, when asked about IUP’s three-point success. “Stamp is a gamer, she hit them when they needed to have them.”

Edinboro only got as close as five in the final minutes of the contest, but worse than the loss was senior Val Majewski going down with an apparent left ankle injury with 3:34 left in the game. She had to be carried off the court in what could be her last game in her collegiate career.

The Scots now await to see if they qualify for the NCAA tournament. Edinboro was ranked in a tie for tenth in this week’s Atlantic regional poll. The winner of the PSAC and Virginia State, the winner of the CIAA, receive automatic bids and the top six ranked teams remaining receive atlarge bids. The qualifiers will be announced on Selection Sunday on March 8.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for the Spectator. He can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com