|Lady Mounties Headed to AMCC Playoffs||02/20/2012|
Cresson—For the second time in as many years, the Mount Aloysius women’s basketball team is headed to the post-season. This time, however, they will hold the advantage of playing on their home court.
“We got a taste of the playoffs last year,” senior guard Dani Rhoades said. “All of us seniors really wanted to not just get back to the playoffs, but to host a game.”
First-year head coach Kristi Kaack’s team will do just that tomorrow night when her fourth-seeded Lady Mounties welcome the number five seed, Pitt-Bradford, to campus for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Mount Aloysius swept Pitt-Bradford during the regular season. They won 72-67 at Pitt-Bradford on December 10, and 69-53 at home on January 28. The Lady Mounties controlled Pitt-Bradford considerably better the second time around, outrebounding the taller Panthers 49-30. Kaack is hoping home court will be just as beneficial in this next outing.
“I think the environment will be exciting for us,” Kaack said. “I expect a good crowd and that always helps.”
This will be the first time Mount Aloysius has earned a high enough seed in the conference standings to merit hosting a first round playoff game, since joining the A.M.C.C. eight years ago.
“Our women’s basketball team has worked hard to earn the privilege of playing in front of their own fans for a playoff game,” Mount Aloysius Athletic Director Ryan Smith said. “We are very proud of the team and this accomplishment.”
Kaack’s team started the season out slow, but has been on a roll since the start of January. They have won ten of their last twelve games, with their only losses coming to La Roche and Medaille, the number one and two seeds, respectively.
“After we came back from Christmas break, I felt we were dedicated to working harder and it paid off,” Kaack said.
The Lady Mounties mentor is quick to defer much of the credit for her team’s improved play to the leadership of her four seniors—Rhoades, Kaylee Keagy, Spring Krepps, and Erica Matko.
“Kaylee jump started us,” Kaack said. “But the seniors have really given us great leadership.”
Having that kind of veteran experience on the court has certainly produced favorable results for the Lady Mounties. They rank second in the conference in fewest turnovers committed, an obvious indication of the team’s poise and experience on the court.
While the seniors appear to be doing their part, it is a pair of sophomores who have become the team’s statistical leaders. Lindsy Sammarco is averaging a team high 13.9 points per game, and Ali Maruca is pouring in 11.9 points per game. Together, they account for nearly 40 percent of the Lady Mounties total offense.
Maruca is additionally averaging 3.4 assists per game, which is good enough to rank her second in the conference in that statistical category.
The winner of tomorrow’s game will travel to La Roche on Friday to take on the tournament’s top seed.