In NCAA Tournament First Round, Young Warriors (3 Freshmen Starters) No Match for Senior-Laden Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Junior guard Sabrina LeMere looks for operating room against Johns Hopkins senior Lexie Scholtz in the second half of Friday's 58-42 loss in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at the John Long Center on the campus of the University of Scranton.
Junior guard Sabrina LeMere looks for operating room against Johns Hopkins senior Lexie Scholtz in the second half of Friday's 58-42 loss in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at the John Long Center on the campus of the University of Scranton.

SCRANTON, Pa. – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's basketball team shot 22.2 percent in the first half and committed 13 turnovers in that span and was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament in a 58-42 loss to Johns Hopkins University Friday evening at the John Long Center on the campus of the University of Scranton.

Johns Hopkins (23-4), a winner of ten of its last 11, turned to four senior starters to jump out quickly against Eastern (19-9), which started three freshmen and no seniors and saw its season-high six-game winning streak halted in its 17th NCAA tournament appearance.

The Warriors never recovered after the Blue Jays scored seven straight early points, pushed the lead to 15 point, 21-6 after ten minutes and traded baskets in the second quarter to take a 17-point, 34-17 halftime lead.

Eastern made a push after falling back by 21 points midway through the third quarter, ending the frame with an 11-2 burst over the final 5:21 to cut the gap to 12, 44-32 heading into the final ten minutes.

While Johns Hopkins was getting points from three different players, Eastern went without a field goal – getting one point from the foul line – over the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, however, as the Blue Jays re-built the lead to 19, 52-33 in snuffing out Eastern's thoughts of a late comeback.

Junior guard Lizzy Cretella (Cheshire) banged two three-pointers and junior guard Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) one in a short period of time thereafter to make it 57-42 with 2:25 left, but the marksmanship came too late.

At left: Six-foot freshman Anna Barry drives against Johns Hopkins freshman Diarra Oden during the Warriors' NCAA first-round loss. Barry led all players with four blocked shots and a career-high 12 rebounds.

Junior forward Mya Villard (Cromwell) was Eastern's only double-figure scorer, leading both teams with 17 points and also grabbing six rebounds. Freshman forward Anna Barry (Andover) did not score from the floor but dominated the paint with a career-high 12 rebounds and added four blocked shots, giving her a team-high 40 blocks this year in an average of only 17.0 minutes per game.

The Warriors canned 14 of 18 free throws (Villard and Barry combining on 11-of-14) but shot just 21.1 percent from the floor (4-of-16 from distance), and committed 16 turnovers. Playing in their first NCAA games, Eastern's five freshmen missed 24 of 26 shots from the floor.

Forward Kelsey Santagata (Stamford), the team's only senior, was unable to participate in the final contest of her career due to illness.