Press "Enter" to skip to content

Perfect! N.Y.U. women’s basketball nets D-III championship

BY N.Y.U. SPORTS | The New York University women’s basketball dream season concluded the way it began…with a victory…and nothing but victories in between

In a defensive struggle from the outset, the Violets ended their perfect 31-0 season with a 51-41 victory over Smith College on Sat., March 16, in Columbus, Ohio.

It was N.Y.U.’s second-ever N.C.A.A. Division III title, with the only other one secured in 1997.

“There’s no energy left in my body. It was such a hard-fought game,” said N.Y.U. Head Coach Meg Barber. “It took everything we had.”

The Violets scored the first 8 points of the game, holding Smith scoreless until 5:43 was left in the first quarter.

Erica Miller’s three-pointer gave the Violets an 11-2 lead, but the Pioneers edged within 13-10.

Morgan Morrison’s short jumper in the final minute gave N.Y.U. a 15-10 lead after the first quarter.

Smith (30-4) opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run and tied the game at 15-15.

N.Y.U. quickly responded by scoring the next 8, with Morrison accounting for the final 4 of the streak.

But again the Pioneers did not back down, ending the quarter on a 6-0 run and cutting the Violets’ lead to 23-21 at halftime.

Morrison had 8 points and 6 rebounds at the break. Belle Pellecchia also had 8 points, with Natalie Bruns racking up 4 blocked shots in the first half.

“We started out on that 8-0 run, but credit Smith for adjusting well,” Pellecchia said. “But we stuck to what we knew best, which was defense, and that had gotten us to this point and helped us win this game.”

Both defenses were solid over the first 20 minutes, as each team shot only 35.7 percent (10-of-28) from the field.

Bruns knocked down consecutive shots to start the third quarter and N.Y.U. opened an 8-point lead, 34-26, on a Pellecchia steal and layup.

Morrison again put the Violets by 8 points, 36-28, with a short bucket at 2:45.

Smith again closed the gap by scoring the next 4 points. But Bruns countered with a free throw and short jumper as N.Y.U. headed into the final quarter up 39-32.

Neither defense rested in the fourth frame as no points were scored until Smith’s Sofia Rosa connected with 6:22 left in the game.

The Pioneers pulled within 5, but got no closer.

Rosa, who scored a game-high 19 points, fouled out with 2:01 remaining. Pellecchia sunk a pair of free throws and N.Y.U. reestablished a game-high 9-point lead, 45-36.

Megan Bauman’s free throws with 38 seconds left gave N.Y.U. its first double-digit lead, 48-38. She added three more down the stretch, securing the N.C.A.A. Championship and undefeated season.

“It’s really hard to think about it now,” Bruns said. “So much hard work went into this, not only this year but in previous years as well. But now it’s pure euphoria.”

Bruns, who contributed 9 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks, was named tournament MVP.

Morrison, who was named to the N.C.A.A. All-Tournament Team, finished with team highs of 14 points and 9 rebounds.

“We never took our eye off of what we wanted, no matter what game it was,” Morrison said. “We always knew it was always working toward something. I think having that in a program is so special because you never lose sight of what you need to do and it motivates you and everything you do.”

Pellecchia finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals, while Bauman also scored in double-digits, with 10.

“This is the moment you dream of when you’re a little kid,” Pellecchia said. “To actually be here in this moment is so unreal, indescribable. So many tears of joy. Everything that we’ve gone through has finally paid off.”

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.