Gulls set for second-round tilt against Ospreys

Gulls set for second-round tilt against Ospreys

SALISBURY, Md. – After downing Bridgewater State University, 66-63, in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night, the No. 11 Salisbury University women's basketball team takes to the hardwood again on Saturday, March 7 for a second-round matchup against Stockton University. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m., in Maggs Physical Activities Center.

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How We Got Here

The Sea Gulls (26-2) went 17-1 in Capital Athletic Conference play in the regular season, earning them the top seed in the postseason tournament along with a first-round bye. Downing fifth-seed York College of Pennsylvania in the semifinals, Salisbury faced off with second-seed University of Mary Washington in the championship, needing two overtimes to put away the Eagles. With the victory, the Gulls earned the conference's automatic bid into the national tournament, the first time in 13 years. In first-round play, Salisbury overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to Bridgewater to claim a 66-63 decision and advance to the second round.

How They Got Here

Earning the second seed in the New Jersey Athletic Conference postseason tournament, the Ospreys (22-6) downed Rutgers University-Newark in the semifinals to advance to the title game, for the first time since 2006, to take on the two-time defending conference champion, No. 7 Montclair State University. Splitting the regular-season series, Stockton fell behind early to the Red Hawks and never overcame the deficit, dropping a 59-42 decision. Although they didn't earn the conference's automatic bid, the Ospreys earned an at-large berth into the national tournament. Downing McDaniel College, 68-49, on Friday night in first-round action, Stockton advanced to the second round.

Last Time We Met

The two squads last took the court against one another on November 21, 2004 in Marymount (Va.) University's tip-off tournament. The Gulls trailed at the half by just two, 32-30, before Stockton ran away with the game. Posting a 48-point second half, the Ospreys claimed an 80-63 victory.

Series History

Although Salisbury dropped the last meeting between the two squads, the Gulls maintain the edge in the all-time series against Stockton, 9-6. Home-court advantage plays into the favor of Salisbury, as it sports a 5-1 record while playing the Ospreys in Maggs, opposed to the 4-4 record playing in Stockton's gym.

Climbing Program Records

With her second assist against Bridgewater State on Friday night, senior point guard Anna Hackett reached a new milestone in her stellar career with the Sea Gulls, recording her 500th assist. Finishing with a team-high eight assists in the game, she currently sits with 506 helpers through 108 games, placing her third in program history. Also with a program's second-best 1,745 points, Hackett becomes the only player to reach the 1,700-500 club through 89 years of the program. Of the other two former Sea Gulls with over 500 assists, Amy Cooke is the closest to Hackett in points with 1,138.

Sweet Home Cookin'

Since Head Coach Kelly Lewandowski took the helm back in 2011, Salisbury has increasingly gotten better on its home court. In her first season, the Gulls went 8-5 (61.5 percent winning percentage) in Maggs. In 2012-'13, a 7-4 record (63.6 percent) showed improvement, before going 10-1 (90.9 percent) last season. This year, the Gulls have been untouched at home, sporting a 14-0 tally. Salisbury will look to make it 15-0 Saturday night, as it takes on a Stockton squad that has put together a 10-1 road record.

Spark of the Sixth Woman

Sophomore Lauren Rothfeld has not started a single game this season, but she makes quite a spark when she touches the court. Playing in all 28 contests this year for an average of 19.6 minutes per game, the Dresher, Pennsylvania native has been a key part of the full-court pressure and defense as a whole. Playing the top piece of the pressure, her length and anticipation forces crucial steals, including two in Friday's contest against the Bears to help the momentum swing in the 15-point comeback. The guard concluded the game with a game-high four steals and a block to go along with her 10 points and four rebounds.

What's Next?

Pending a victory, the Sea Gulls would advance to next weekend's Sweet 16 against the winner of another second-round matchup between No. 17 New York University and No. 12 Amherst College. The Sweet 16 is set to tipoff on Friday, March 13 with the time and location to be determined.

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