YORK, Pa. – The third-seeded Salisbury University women's basketball cut a 22-point halftime deficit to four with just under six minutes to play but second-seeded York College (Pa.) College held on for a 64-51 win in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament semifinals at Charles Wolf Gym on Thursday.
Freshman Whitney Kolakowski hit a layup with 5:57 left to move SU (15-11) within 49-45 but York (22-4), which was limited to just 25 points in the second half, received five straight points from April Sparkman on a three-pointer and layup to regain control of the game and lengthen the lead to 54-45 with 4:58 remaining.
Junior Nicole Sisco drained a jumper with 3:42 to play to cut the lead to seven at 54-47 before Kristin Haley scored six consecutive points for the Spartans to put the game out of reach.
The loss for Salisbury ends its most successful season since the Sea Gulls went 23-5 and advanced to the CAC championship game in the 2002-03 season.
York moves on to face the top-seeded University of Mary Washington in the title game on Saturday in Fredericksburg, Va.
Freshman Anna Hackett led a ground of three SU starters in double figures with 13 points. Sisco and classmate and former Spartan Cinthia Ruiz finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Sisco tallied a game-high three steals while junior Katie McGahagan chipped in with eight points and a team-best eight rebounds.
Salisbury opened the second half with a 10-4 run, shaving the York lead to 43-27 on a Sisco layup with 13:11 left. Then, down, 49-33, Hackett made a jumper and senior KC Curran a three-pointer to make it a 49-38 game with 10:05 remaining.
After a York timeout, Ruiz knocked down a pair of free throws and Sisco made another layup to cut the lead to 49-43 with 7:21 left.
Sparkman scored a game-high 25 points to pace three in double digits. Brittany Hicks pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
York ran out an 18-3 lead at the 11:39 mark of the first half. Five players scored in the run, led by eight points from Sparkman.
Salisbury responded with a quick 5-0 spurt in a 1:12 to cut the deficit to 10 points at 18-8. Sisco and Ruiz had a layup and jumper, respectively, and Hackett added a free throw. York's Haley converted a three-point play with 6:55 left to close a 6-0 stretch and push the lead to 25-13.
Sparkman hit a jumper with 50 seconds left in the half to give the Spartans a 39-17 advantage going into the break.
The loss marked the final game in a Salisbury uniform for Curran, who came off the bench for five points and four boards in 24 minutes. Fellow senior Meghan Dunn had two steals, one block, one assists and one rebound, while the last of the seniors, Milan Dry, could not play due to injury.