PHILADELPHIA, Pa. 3/18/2012 – The season ended for the Saint Joseph’s Hawks women’s team as a VCU steal and layup by guard Andrea Barbour with less than a second remaining in overtime gave VCU a 67 – 65 win in a second round WNIT game at Hagan Arena. The loss was in a heartbreaking fashion, and ended the Hawks season.
“It is.” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “At the end of the year there are only two teams that are happy. You have to put that into perspective. At this time of year the end is near. The question is when is it going to happen. Today, it happened.”
VCU had the lead late in the second half, but a jumper by Hawks Senior guard Michelle Baker with 21 seconds on the clock tied it at 61. Saint Joseph’s appeared to have control of the game in the extra time. The Hawks scored the first two baskets to lead 65 – 61 with 4:05 to play. That would be the last points the Hawks would score. Saint Joseph’s missed shots, but got the rebounds to keep the ball, but could not covert the key basket. VCU tied the game at 65 on two free throws by forward Courtney Hurt. Saint Joseph’s got the ball with 21 seconds left to play looking for the game-winning shot. However, Barbour stole the ball from Baker and drove to the basket making the shot with .7 seconds on the clock.
While that play may have been the big play, it was not the reason for the loss. There were many big plays, but it was the failure to score over the last four minutes and poor foul shooting (3 of 8) that led to the Hawks demise.
“When you’re up four with 40 seconds to go, you’re thinking close it out,” said Griffin. “I think it’s the freed throws. We could have got more separation. We weren’t able to close out the game. In a game this tight, it’s about free throws and layups, and we missed free throws. But we played real well. They got the best of us today.”
The season ends for the Hawks as they post a 22 – 11 record for the 2011-12 season. It also ended the careers for seniors Michelle Baker, Katie Kuester, Samira Van Grinsven, and Kelly Cavallo. These players have given much to the Saint Joseph’s program. Griffin sees a bright future for them.
“These seniors are so solid,” Griffin said about her fourth year players. “They are character kids through and through. They are great students, great people, and obviously very good basketball players. They are there every day. As a coach you know you can rely on them, and their teammates can rely on them. They are reliable, and it’s going to help them in life. They are going to be successful in anything they do.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian