For The Dialog
NEWARK – The seventh-seeded Ursuline Raiders found themselves trailing the second-seeded Sanford Warriors, 45-36, with one minute to go in the third quarter on March 4 at the Bob Carpenter Center. They would outscore the Warriors, 15-3, in the final nine minutes to punch their ticket to the semifinals this Wednesday night with the 51-48 win.
The Warriors would lead 45-36 after a lay up by Lauren Park-Lane as the third quarter neared its end. Raiders senior Maggie Connolly hit a deep three-pointer with five seconds left in the quarter to cut the lead to 45-39. The Warriors held the ball for more than a minute on their first possession of the final stanza but couldn’t convert. Ursuline took another minute off the clock, and Abby Rzucidlo hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to three.
After the Raiders’ defense forced a turnover, Olivia Mason converted on a layup off a great pass by Rzucidlo. The Warriors would get two free throws from Samantha Pollich with 2:30 left to push their lead to three at 47-44. Rzucidlo would tie it by hitting another triple off the dish from Connolly to tie it at 47 with 1:20 left. Park-Lane was fouled driving to the basket with 50 seconds left and hit one of two from the line. Then Ursuline’s Allie Olmstead put her team on top with a jumper with 30 seconds that made the score 49-48.
Sanford sharpshooter Olivia Tucker drew a foul driving to the basket with 11 seconds to go, but she missed both free throws. The Warriors only had two team fouls through that point, and they did not have enough time to force the Raiders into the bonus. After the final foul, Connolly found Rzucidlo open underneath to lay the ball in with one second left, setting off a wild celebration at the Raiders’ bench and in the stands.
Mason, who has fought back from a torn ACL, led the Raiders in scoring with 14 points, but she was joined by three other double-digit scorers. Connolly added 12, while Rzucidlo added 11 and Kay Wulah – also recently returned from ACL surgery – contributed 10, including two huge three-pointers in the first half. The Raiders (11-10) will face third-seeded Conrad on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Park-Lane had a game-high 18 points for the Warriors, who finished 18-4. They had won 14 straight coming into the game, and this was their only loss to a Delaware opponent this season.
For The Dialog