Top-seed Gallaudet suffers deflating 50-46 loss to Keuka in NEAC championship
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A comfortable 10-point Gallaudet University lead vanished in the final minutes of Sunday's North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) women's basketball championship game as Keuka College stormed back with a 14-0 run to stun the top-seed Bison 50-46 at the Field House before a crowd of 455.
Keuka (24-2) will represent the NEAC in the upcoming NCAA Division III tournament while the loss leaves Gallaudet's future postseason hopes in doubt. GU (24-3) is in the running for one of the 20 at-large selections into the NCAA tournament or a spot in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) South Region basketball championship. Both tournament championship fields will be announced on Monday.
The Bison led the second-seed Storm 46-36 with 4:57 left in regulation but the Buff and Blue did not score another point the rest of the game. In fact, Gallaudet's last field goal made came at the 6:16 mark after freshman Britny Latham (Cleveland, Tenn.) made her third and final 3-pointer in the game.
Keuka battled back with 3-pointers from Jessica Bandrowski (14 points) and Jessica Fink (10 points), who also added a layup, to start the comeback. Meanwhile the Bison turned the ball over five times, missed three shots and committed five fouls in the last five minutes of the game. Keuka tied the game at 46 when forward Mariah Mouzon (eight points, eight rebounds) made a layup off an assist from tournament Most Valuable Player Brittany Shrock (nine points, six assists). The two connected on the same play 41 seconds later to give Keuka its first lead since a Schrock 3-pointer started the game for the Storm.
All-American senior forward/center Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) dealt with double and triple teams for the majority of the game but still scored a game-high 16 points and brought down a game best 14 rebounds to record her 21st double-double of the season. Senior center Nukeitra Hayes (Anderson, Ind.) was held to two points in the first half as she finished with seven points and 12 rebounds.
Keuka's defense forced the Bison to take a lot of outside shots where Gallaudet threw up a season-high 15 3-point attempts. The outside shot selection allowed the Storm to crash the defensive glass and come down with key rebounds, especially in the first half.
The Storm scored 20 points off the 26 Bison turnovers, 12 of those points came in the second half. Keuka also controlled the paint where it held a 28-18 advantage.
The conference championship pitted the two co-champions from the regular-season against one another for a third time this season. The win by the Storm is the first against the Bison this year. Gallaudet last made a conference title appearance in 1999 where the Bison lost at home 75-69 to St. Mary's (Md.) College. This is GU's first season in the NEAC after spending 20 years in the Capital Athletic Conference. The Bison never won a CAC tournament championship before it left.
Keuka will make its third NCAA appearance while Gallaudet will need to wait out the NCAA selection announcement to see if the Bison will make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999.
2011 NEAC Women's Basketball Tournament
Championship - Sunday, February 27
#2 Keuka 50, #1 Gallaudet 46 | Box Score