From University of Rochester Athletics
Al Leslie and Lauren Deming each had a double-double as the University of Rochester defeated Stockton University, 67-59, in the second round of the NCAA Division III women's basketball playoffs at the Louis Alexander Palestra. The win puts Rochester into the Sweet 16 round of the championships against Bowdoin College. A site will be announced by the NCAA basketball committee later this weekend.
Leslie had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Deming scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Sarah Kaminsky scored 11 points, including three three-point field goals. Rochester, ranked No. 16 in both the coaches' and media polls, improved to 22-5.
Lea Mendolla and April Peterson scored 14 points apiece for Stockton. Sasha Williams, was saddled with foul trouble and played only 16 minutes. She scored six points, grabbed six rebounds, and blocked eight shots. Williams leads Division III in blocked shots. She has 175 – which is more than all but six Division III teams have as a team total. Najha Treadwell scored six points, had seven rebounds, and blocked four shots. The Ospreys finished 22-7.
Stockton closed the first quarter on a 9-3 run to take a 21-18 lead. Rochester used a late 10-1 run in the second half to turn a 31-26 deficit into a 36-32 lead. April Peterson scored in the lane and Marina Lukianov hit a 10-footer to tie it at 36-all at the half.
"I was a little nervous at halftime," said Rochester head coach Jim Scheible. "We're shooting 48% from the floor and the game is tied."
Scheible talked about the guards being more aggressive in attacking the Stockton defense. They responded in the third quarter.
Kaminsky sank two three-pointers – one from left wing and one from the right corner in the first three minutes plus of the third period. Mendolla answered each one with a trifecta of her own, but Kaminsky's outside scoring gave the Yellowjackets another threat.
"That changed the dynamic of the game," Scheible said. "Al was getting more touches after that."
Brynn Lauer drove the lane for a floater to tie it at 44-44. Leslie knocked down two free throws after drawing Treadwell's third foul. Then she hit a short jumper in the paint. Rochester had a 48-44 lead and eventually stretched it to 54-48 with the help of two layups from Mary Kronenwetter and another drive down the lane by Lauer. Stockton closed the period with a 3-4 performance at the line to get within 54-51.
Leslie opened the fourth with two free throws (after Williams' fourth foul) and another layup (58-51). Peterson got it to five (58-53) when she weaved through the paint. Leslie scored on a putback and added a free throw to push it to eight.
"She's a good post player," Williams said of Leslie. "We didn't front her like we were supposed to."
"Our inside game was inconsistent tonight," said Stockton head coach Joe Fussner. "Some of that was due to foul trouble. I thought our guards did a pretty good job. We ran a lot of dribble-drive and scored from that, but we had a lot of missed field goals. Eight points in the fourth quarter is inexcusable."
Mendolla was fairly consistent and hit a couple of three-pointers off the fast break before the defense could get back or support could arrive from her teammates. "I'm pretty confident shooting after catching the ball on the break," she said.
Fussner knew a certain amount of defensive focus had to turn on Leslie. She scored 25 points the night before against Johnson & Wales. "We wanted to front the low post," he said. "Leslie's a great player. Her footwork is excellent."
The foul trouble didn't help. Williams had four and Treadwell had three. "April Peterson came in and did very well," Fussner said. "Defended, and she scored some points." Peterson grabbed seven rebounds and was perfect at the foul line, 8-8.
After the game, Scheible had a chance to reflect on how the season has gone. "We talked about how thrilled I am for the team," he said. "We have 19 players and they've been willing to play whatever role I have for them without question."