Seton Hill hangs on against A-B
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Alderson-Broaddus women's basketball team has played its last game as a member of the West Virginia Conference, but the 13th-seeded Battlers lived up to their school moniker as they hit the road.
A-B, which finished 8-20 this season, outrebounded and was within two points of fifth seed Seton Hill late in Wednesday's WVC quarterfinals before falling 51-45 at the Civic Center.
The Griffins (18-12) will play in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Friday against No. 9 Charleston, which upset top-seeded Glenville State 65-57 in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
"It was a great battle," said Seton Hill coach Ferne Larati.
"I'm extremely proud of our kids," said A-B coach Josh Allen. "We got down here when nobody thought we would. We fought to the buzzer. I'm completely proud of this team."
The Griffins entered the game with two first-team All-WVC picks in guard Paige Alviani and forward Katie Gattuso. A-B had but honorable mention pick Amanda Peoples.
The contest, however, went down to the wire before being decided by free throws. Seton Hill's Tiara Stossel and Kelly Brennan hit four in the last two minutes to cap a 19-for-21 team performance at the line. The Battlers hit but 10 of 17.
"When you go back and look at boxscores, you can see that makes a difference in a game," said Gattuso, who finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. "We've been on the other end of that, but we made our foul shots today and that was key."
It helped because Seton Hill hit just 30 percent of its shots from the field and A-B just 28.1 percent.
The shooting trend began in the first half. Both shot in the low-30-percent range in the half, but the Griffins hit 10 of 11 free throws and A-B 4 of 10.
Alderson-Broaddus, though, did keep the pace more to its liking.
"We wanted to make sure [Seton Hill] didn't push the ball," Allen said. "We wanted to run through our offense a couple times each time down."
Seton Hill moved out to an 11-point lead early in the second half, but A-B chipped away by feeding 6-foot-1 center Cayla Rhodes. After scoring but two points in the first half, the senior finished with 15, including a putback with 3:39 remaining to slash the Griffins' lead to 45-43.
Stossel, though, was clutch at the end. She responded to the putback with a bucket from the left corner and a pair of free throws at 1:46.
A-B pulled within four at 49-45, but felt the dagger when Rhodes was called for an offensive foul with 26.7 seconds left. The Battlers were then forced to foul and SH's Kelly Brannan sealed the game with a pair of free throws.
Still, A-B seemed happy with the effort.
"It was amazing," said Peoples, who finished with four points and 14 rebounds. "It's been 14 years since we've made the conference tournament. To do that in our last season was an awesome feeling."
A-B outrebounded Seton Hill 46-35.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.