MINNEAPOLIS, MN. - The Manhattan College women's basketball team saw its 2011-12 season come to an end with a 67-54 loss to Minnesota (18-17) at Williams Arena in the semifinals of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) on Friday night. It was the second straight WBI semifinal appearance for the Jaspers (18-16).
After Minnesota took an early 8-2 lead, Lindsey Loutsenhizer (North Huntingdon, Pa.) drained a pair of three-pointers to knot it at 8-8. The Golden Gophers responded with an 11-0 rally to open up a 19-8 advantage with 11:52 remaining in the first half. Alyssa Herrington (Cambridge, N.Y.) nailed a trey on the next Manhattan possession, then assisted on a bucket by Schyanne Halfkenny (Hyde Park, Mass.) that pulled the Jaspers within six, 19-13, midway through the period.
Minnesota increased its cushion to 12 points at 27-15 before a Toni-Ann Lawrence (Elmont, N.Y.) layup sparked a 13-2 run that brought the Jaspers within one, 29-28, with 1:44 left before halftime. The Golden Gophers got back-to-back baskets from Katie Loberg to extend its lead to five, 33-28, but Halfkenny sank a three as the half expired to make it a two-point game, 33-31, at intermission.
The sides traded buckets early in the second half before Minnesota used a 5-0 spurt to push its advantage to 10 points, 48-38, with 13:49 to go. However, treys by Herrington and Loutsenhizer, followed by a Lawrence layup brought the Jaspers back within two, 48-46, at the 11:09 mark. Manhattan would pull no closer, though, as the Golden Gophers used a 15-3 scoring spurt to open up a 63-49 advantage with 5:08 remaining.
The Golden Gophers' lead reached a game-high 16 points after a pair of free throws by Rachel Banham at the 1:46 mark. Manhattan then finished out the scoring on Herrington's fourth three-pointer of the game, as the Jaspers saw their season end in the WBI semifinals for the second straight year with a 67-54 defeat.
"It was a great postseason run," Head Coach John Olenowski said. "We played well in defeat tonight. We were only down two at halftime and played hard the entire way. I'm very proud of our effort."
Playing her final game in a Manhattan uniform, Loutsenhizer led the Jaspers with 18 points and six rebounds. Herrington finished with 14 points and five boards while also handing out seven assists in her final game. Halfkenny tallied seven points, six rebounds and three assists, while Lawrence notched four assists and three steals. As a team, the Jaspers had 20 assists on 22 made field goals. Manhattan shot 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field and 41.7 percent (10-of-24) from three-point range. The Jaspers didn't attempt a free throw.
Loberg led the Golden Gophers with 15 points and five rebounds off the bench. Banham added 14 points, three assists and five steals, while Kiara Buford registered 10 points and six assists. Micaella Riche also tallied 10 points, and Kionna Kellogg recorded five rebounds. Leah Cotton distributed five assists. Minnesota shot 53.7 percent (29-of-54) from the field, 33.3 percent (3-of-9) from long distance, and 100 percent (6-of-6) at the line.
With the win, Minnesota advanced to face Northern Iowa (19-14) in the WBI Championship Game on Sunday.