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N.Y.U. women hoopsters put stake through Transylvania, vie for national D-III championship

BY N.Y.U. SPORTS | You could say N.Y.U. was out for blood. …

In a battle of unbeatens, the New York University women’s basketball team snapped Transylvania University’s 64-game winning streak and extended its own to 30 straight with a 57-42 victory in the national semifinals of the N.C.A.A. Division III Championship on Thurs., March 14, in Columbus, Ohio.

The Violets now face Smith College on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the National Championship Game as N.Y.U. will seek its first title since 1997. The game is free to watch and will be streamed live at

Neither team led by more than 2 points in the opening quarter until Eden Williamson’s three-pointer with 33 seconds left put N.Y.U. ahead 13-8. Transylvania’s Sadie Wurth responded with a three and N.Y.U. led 13-11 at the end of the first quarter.

Another Williamson 3 early in the second quarter boosted N.Y.U.’s lead to 18-11.

The Pioneers’ Kennedi Stacy hit two free throws at 8:24 to make the score 18-13, but Transylvania did not score again until Dasia Thornton hit a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer.

In between, the Violets went on a 13-0 run that included 5 points from Caroline Peper and four from Megan Bauman, sending N.Y.U. into the locker room up 31-16.

“I would say that stretch came down to getting stops on defense and then finding holes on offense, and it was not just because of me,” Peper said. “It was from the assists from other people and finding ways that were working.”

Transylvania was held to 25 percent shooting (6 for 24) from the field over the opening 20 minutes while the Violets hit 45.5 percent (10 for 22) and connected on all eight of their free throws.

Peper had a team-high 7 points by the break, while Morgan Morrison, Natalie Bruns and Williamson each had 6.

The Violets boosted their lead to as many as 17 points in the third quarter and led 42-29 heading into the final 10 minutes.

Bruns’s 3-pointer reestablished an 18-point lead, 47-29, with just under 8 minutes remaining.

The Pioneers made a late run, cutting their deficit to 49-39 with just more than 2 minutes left.

But a block by Bruns and six straight free throws from Peper erased any doubt of which team would wind up with its first loss of the season.

“I’m just so proud of our team,” said Head Coach Meg Barber. “That took 40 minutes of effort. Obviously, Transy wasn’t going to go down without a fight. But, we were able to have enough composure down the stretch to maintain our lead and pull away with the win. So, I’m thrilled for them. I’m thrilled for N.Y.U.”

Peper finished with a team-high 16 points while Bruns (11) and Morrison (10) also scored in double figures. Morrison netted a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Bruns added seven boards along with three blocks and two steals.

“A big theme of this year has been this season is about us,” Bruns said. “Obviously, we have opponents that we need to beat and need to play to win the national championship. But every day when we come to practice, we’re happy to be in our locker room. We’re happy to be practicing with this group of girls. So, knowing that, we’re really focused on each other is a big key of that.”

Now with a program-record 30 wins, the Violets need one more to become national champions.

“I feel like the luckiest coach in the world to have this group of players to be representing,” Barber added. “But it’s a player’s game. I’m going to be standing on the sidelines without a uniform on Saturday and these guys have the opportunity to win it.”

They will indeed be looking for the perfect end to the perfect season.

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