Saints women's basketball escape Dutchwomen; advance to Conference Finals
Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 7:40 am

Sophomore Kelly Legg scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the top seeded St. Lawrence University women's basketball team to a 56-55 victory over Union in the Liberty League semifinal game in the Burkman Gymnasium.

The Saints, who improved to 21-4 overall, set a new University record for consecutive wins with their 18th in a row. The record was previously held by the 2002-03 women's team. Union, led by Kate Thompson's 10 points and Kristin Schmidt's 11 rebounds, ends its season at 13-12 overall.

Junior Erica Spera, who came up with several key plays in the second half for the Saints, joined Legg in double figures with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals. First-year student Maddy Wetterhahn added nine points and six rebounds, while senior co-captains Katie Edgerton and Casey Capello combined for 16 points and 14 rebounds.

"Union played very hard and shot the ball well from the arc to give us a great battle," said St. Lawrence head coach Dan Roiger. "They are a tough matchup because they are so physical, have good size and are well-coached. We had just enough in us and Erica had a great final minute with a layup and a steal. I was most proud of the team that we got two stops when we needed it and executed our press break perfectly twice in the final minute. We certainly did not play as well as we feel we can, but the goal this time of year is to advance and we were able to do that tonight."

St. Lawrence had a one point lead at the half, 28-27, but a layup by Thompson put Union on top 31-30 with 18.33 left. Spera notched four points and a steal to give the Saints a 37-31 advantage at 15:57. Legg added a layup at 11:23 to give the home team a 44-36 lead, but the Dutchwomen showed their resiliency with a 12-6 run to cut the deficit down to two points, 50-48. A three-pointer by Kelsey McDonald put the visitor back on top 51-50 and forced the Saints to call a timeout with 4:31 remaining.

After a layup by senior Iris Santoni, the Dutchwomen gained the lead once again on a pair of free throws by Thompson then a Donohue layup at 2:31 to give Union a 55-52 advantage. Legg hit a layup at 2:08 to bring the score to 55-54, Union. The Dutchwomen had a chance to go up by three points, but a block by Legg and tough Saints' defense forced a shot clock violation with 1:32 remaining.

On St. Lawrence's next possession, Spera drove the lane for a layup to put the home team on top 56-55, and the Saints made two more critical defensive stops down the stretch to earn the final 56-55 victory on their home court.

The Scarlet and Brown look to avenge last year's semifinal loss when it meets Vassar in the Liberty League Tournament Championship on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00pm in the Burkman Gymnasium.