ERIE--The Bloomsburg University women's basketball team saw its season come to a close on Friday with a 72-59 loss to Indiana, Pa. University (IUP) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Atlantic Regional championships on Friday. The Huskies end the season with a record of 24-6.
IUP used a 22-10 run over the final 9:41 of the game to end the Huskies season for the second straight year.
Bloomsburg's senior class of players, Lauren Ellis (Bangor/Bangor), Kayla Oxenrider (Ashland/Tri-Valley), Dana Wieller (Bethlehem/Liberty) and Alyssa Flanagan (Freeland/Hazleton Area) end their careers with a record of 88-29 with one PSAC Championship, two NCAA playoff appearances and three PSAC East titles.
"We had a lot of good looks that we just didn't make tonight," said Huskies head coach Bill Cleary. "Shots we normally made during the season did not drop tonight."
As for the impact the four seniors on the team made on the program, Cleary said it is hard to measure.
"The seniors, I love them so much," Cleary went on. "Words can't describe what they mean to the program. They believed in us four years ago when we were just starting out and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to coach them."
The Huskies held the early lead jumping out to an 8-5 lead six minutes into the game. IUP rallied and went on top 23-15 using an 18-7 run. Later the Crimson Hawks stretched the lead to 11 points with 3:16 to go in the half to take their biggest lead of the game to that point. Dana Wieller (Bethlehem/Liberty) then hit a three-pointer for the Huskies to cut the lead to 29-21.
After an IUP bucket, Jocelyn Ford (Lansing, NY/Lansing) and Maggie Borski (Philadelphia/Nazareth Academy) hit back-to-back baskets followed by a pair of free throws from Borski to pull Bloomsburg to within four points, 31-27, at the half. The Huskies shot just 30 percent (10-33) from the floor in the opening half compared with 52 percent (12-23) for IUP.
Oxenrider started the second half with a three-point to get the Huskies within one at 31-30 just 27 seconds into the half. After an IUP basket, Oxenrider hit back-to-back baskets to put the Huskies on top 34-33 with 17:30 to play.
After IUP tied the score at 34-34 on a free throw from Zhane Brooks, Wieller buried a three-pointer putting the Huskies back on top 37-34 with 16:08 to go. IUP came back and went on top 43-41 before Danielle Derr (Dresner/Upper Dublin) scored on the inside and Wieller hit two free throws as the Huskies regained the lead at 45-43. It would be the last lead of the game for Bloomsburg.
IUP then went on a 7-0 run to go on top 50-45 with 11:25 to play. Oxenrider rallied the Huskies and scored on consecutive trips to pull Bloomsburg within a point, 50-49, but the Hawks countered with another 7-0 run keyed by consecutive three-pointers from Marita Mathe to go up 57-49. Two more free throws from Oxenrider made it a two-possession game at 57-51 with 7:02 to play.
IUP though continued to extend its lead and led by as many as 15 points before a couple of late free throws from Wieller made the final margin 13 points.
Oxenrider led the Huskies with 17 points, while Wieller and Catherine Noack (Bethlehem/Liberty) each added 10 points.
IUP, 23-8, got 19 points each from Ashley Stoner and Lindsay Stamp with Sarah Pastorek getting 11. The Crimson Hawks advance to face Gannon, the top seed, in the regional semifinals.