UNIONTOWN, Pa. – Led by a career- and game-high 28 points from senior Megan Moran (Syosset, N.Y./St. Dominic's) and a near triple-double by junior Taylor Raccuglia (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Kearney), the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) women's basketball withstood a late University of Maine-Fort Kent rally, earning a 67-65 victory over the Bengals on a Kristin D'Chiutiis (Brooklyn, N.Y./Scholars Academy) layup with four seconds left Thursday afternoon in the consolation game of the USCAA National Tournament on the campus of Penn State Fayette.
St. Joseph's (16-12) concludes the season with their first win at the USCAA Tournament since defeating Penn State Fayette in 2010, while Maine-Fort Kent (12-9) sees their season end on a two-game losing streak.
Moran was impressive throughout shooting a blistering 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the field, while adding seven boards. The forward was an integral part of the Lady Bears ability to build a 21-point halftime lead, scoring 18 of her points in the first half. Raccuglia stuffed the stat sheet once again for St. Joseph's, finishing with eight points, nine rebounds and a career-high 11 assists.
Also contributing for the Lady Bears was senior Kelly McNamee (Glendale, N.Y./Mary Louis) who produced 12 points and three steals. D'Chiutiis netted eight points and three assists, while junior Samantha Retas (Brooklyn, N.Y./Bishop Kearney) chipped in seven points, a team-high 14 rebounds and three blocks.
The Bengals had three players score in double figures led by Samantha Carapellucci who notched a double-double with 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Despite an 8 a.m. start, St. Joseph's came out ready to play scoring the first eight points of the contest to take an 8-0 lead three minutes into the contest. The Lady Bears had no problems executing their offense in the first half as they shot 51.4 percent (18-of-35) and put on a passing exhibition as they had 16 assists on 18 made field goals in the opening half. The St. Joseph's defense also stepped up holding the Bengals to just 20.0 percent (7-of-35) shooting in the period.
St. Joseph's built the lead to as many as 23, 43-20, at the 1:19 mark of the first half before Maine-Fort Kent cut it to 43-22 heading into the locker rooms. The Lady Bears looked to have everything in control heading into the intermission, but the Bengals were not going to lay down that easily for St. Joseph's.
The Lady Bears began the half with a Moran jump shot less than five seconds into the frame and it looked like the rout was on, but Maine-Fort Kent gradually clawed its way back with a 23-9 run over the course of 12 minutes that cut the St. Joseph's lead to single digits, 54-45, with 8:12 remaining for the first time since early in the first half.
The Bengals continued its rally with a 10-3 run after Moran nailed a pair of free throws to tie the score up at 59-59 with 2:49 left to play and all the momentum was on their side as the Lady Bears went seven minutes without a field goal.
Maine-Fort Kent took its first lead of the game, 62-61, on an Emily Bard three and built it up to 64-61 with 1:51 to play and the prospects for a St. Joseph's win looked bleak. However, the Lady Bears fought right back scoring four answered to take the lead back at 65-64 with just over a minute to play.
The Bengals tied the game on a free throw with 23 seconds left and overtime seemed like a distinct possibility, but the Lady Bears called a timeout and coach Carbone drew up a play that saw D'Chiutiis drive past the Maine-Fort Kent defenders and lay it in to give St. Joseph's a 67-65 lead with four seconds to play. The ensuing possession saw the Bengals commit an offensive foul, ending any hopes of tying or winning the game, giving the Lady Bears a miraculous win.
After coming back from a 23-point deficit to take a three-point lead, Maine-Fort Kent surrendered four straight points to give the lead back to St. Joseph's at 65-64. The Bengals would go to the line with a chance to take the lead but only made 1-of-2 to tie the game. Coach Carbone called a timeout with 15 seconds to play and drew up a last-second play for the Lady Bears. D'Chiutiis took the ball from half-court and dribbled past the Bengals defenders all the way to the basket and laid it in to give St. Joseph's a lead with four seconds which they were able to hold on to.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
- Other Contributor: Jennifer Miller (4 pts, 8 reb)
- After shooting over 50% in the first half, the Lady Bears struggled in the second half making only 33.3 percent (9-of-27) of their attempts to finish day at 43.5 percent (27-of-62).
- After struggling in the first half the Bengals shot 44.7 percent (17-of-38) in the second frame to finish the day at 32.9 percent (24-of-73).
- Maine-Fort Kent held a 52-49 edge on the glass including a 19-7 margin on the offensive glass which they turned into a 17-6 advantage in second chance points.
- Neither team shot well from the line with the Lady Bears going 13-of-23 (56.5 percent), while the Bengals went 11-of-26 (42.3 percent).
- Maine-Fort Kent went 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) from beyond the arc compared to 0-of-9 by St. Joseph's.
- Lady Bears finished with 22 assists on 27 made field goals, had seven blocks and held 34-26 edge in points in the paint.
THE LADY BEAR FACTS
- The 11 assists by Raccuglia are the most by a Lady Bear since Annamarie Ciorciari had 11 vs, New Hampshire Tech in 2008. Raccuglia becomes second Lady Bear ever to record double-digit assists as Ciorciari is only player to accomplish the feat, doing so seven times.
- St. Joseph's improves to 1-0 against Maine-Fort Kent all-time.
- Moran ends career with 948 points and 606 rebounds, while McNamee ends with 928 career points.