MARCY, N.Y. - The SUNY Poly women's basketball team (21-6) narrowly beat Penn State Abington (15-11) on Saturday, advancing to the NEAC Championship Game for the third consecutive season. The game was a wild one with the lead changing hands 12 times. It would all come down to defense, where the Wildcats excelled, racking up 11 steals and six blocks in the 58-56 win.
The Wildcats usual deep-threat game plan was a no go against the Nittany Lions. The Wildcats shot just 19 percent from three-point range, 16 percent lower than their season average. Abington on the other hand, was hot from behind the arc in the first half, but fell back down to earth in the third and fourth quarters. Abington finished the game with a three-point shooting percentage of 35.
After battling back from an eight-point deficit at the close of the third quarter, the result of the semi-final came down to the final seconds. With 23 ticks remaining in regulation and the Wildcats trailing by a point, senior Paige Gallo (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) hit the final go-ahead jump shot that would seal the win for the Wildcats. The Wildcats held on down the stretch, extending the lead to two on a free throw and locking down on defense.
Khristaijah Jackson (Levittown, Pa.) was the Wildcats leading scorer in the game. The senior scored 21 points in the game and had six rebounds, two steals, and two assists. She shot 40 percent from the field and 75 percent from the charity stripe where she scored nine points.
Kiersten Leos (Camden, N.Y.) scored 15 points in the win. The sophomore hit two of the Wildcats four three-pointers from the game and had two steals and an assist.
Paige Gallo finished the game with seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Cassidy Albright (New York Mills, N.Y.) had a team high 10 rebounds, five points, a steal, and a block
Abington's Symantha Marrero did her best to upset the number one seeded Wildcats. She shot 60% from behind the arc, hitting a game high six three pointers and scoring a team high 21. Shayna Rodriguez scored 18 for Abington. Grace Dewey had a game high 17 rebounds.
With the win, the Wildcats advance to their third straight NEAC Championship game. The Wildcats will face NEAC north division rival Keuka College. Keuka advanced to the NEAC Championship with a convincing 22 point win over Gallaudet. This season, the Wildcats and the Wolves have met twice with Poly earning wins in each of the games. The NEAC Championship game will tip-off at 2:00 PM on Sunday, February 24th at SUNY Poly's Campus Center Gym.