CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. – The Washington & Jefferson College women’s basketball team picked a good time to have its best shooting night of the season.
W&J shot a blistering 55 percent from the field, made five of seven three-pointers and converted 38 of 43 free throws to defeat Saint Vincent 101-91 Friday night in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference semifinals.
The second-seeded Presidents (20-7), who have won six in a row, will play host and top-seeded Thomas More (27-0) in today’s championship game at 4 p.m. The winner receives the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division III tournament.
Thomas More, ranked No. 3 in the nation, advanced with a 106-88 victory over fifth-seeded Waynesburg in the night’s second game. Thomas More’s Sydney Moss, the PAC Player of the Year, scored a Division III single-game 63 points in the win over the Yellow Jackets.
W&J trailed 42-40 at halftime and the game remained close until the Presidents took control midway through the second half. Alexa Burzese, who came off the bench to score 15 points for W&J, made a three-pointer that broke a 67-67 tie and sent the Presidents on a 19-7 run. Burzese made two three-pointers during the spurt.
Saint Vincent (18-9), which was playing without leading scorer and rebounder Taylor Mathers, who was sidelined by a concussion, pulled to within six points four times down the stretch, the last time with 1:57 remaining. But W&J then went 8-for-8 at three-throw line to secure its spot in the title game for the second consecutive year.
Beka Bellhy led four W&J players in double figures with 25 points. Point guard Kara Seamon followed with 23 points. Bellhy and Seamon combined to make 26 of 27 free throws.
Chelsea Apke, who later in the night was named first team all-conference, had 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Presidents made 18 of 27 shots from the field in he second half and were 21-for-23 at three free-throw line after halftime.
Elle Collins led saint Vincent with 24 points. The Bearcats made 11 three-pointers.