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February 22, 2002
Vol. 43 No. 16

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Late collapse leads to loss on road

The Susquehanna women's basketball team closed out its 2001-02 campaign with a disappointing 66-57 loss at Widener on Saturday.

The Crusaders walked into halftime with a three-point lead at the Schwartz Athletic Center in Chester, but fell victim to a strong second-half run by the Pioneers as the Crusaders' shots stopped falling.

After building a 37-27 lead with 15:58 left, the Crusaders watched Widener go on a 16-4 run led by Jackie Sweeney and Nicole Stanley's four points each to take a 43-41 lead.

The Crusaders battled back, taking their final lead, 48-46, with under eight minutes to play. Widener would rattle off the next five points to take a 51-48 lead with 6:07 remaining. The Crusaders pulled within one point with less than five minutes left, but Sweeney would score six points during an 11-0 Widener run to seal the game.

In the last eight minutes, the Crusaders hit only one shot from the field.

The Pioneers put four players in double figures scoring, as Stanley led Widener with 19 points, Erin Nemshick had 18, Mandy Joachim had 11 and Sweeney finished with 10.

Junior guard Alison Ream led the Crusaders with a career-high 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. She also added nine rebounds and three assists.

Ream, a Middle Atlantic Conference Commonwealth Conference All-Star candidate, led the Crusaders this season in points, averaging 11.1 per contest, steals with 47 and assists with 80.

"Alison is someone people can look to, to lead the team," junior point guard Shannon Baker said. "She makes everyone want to work harder."

Freshman forward Ang Letcavage put together her third consecutive strong game off the bench for the Crusaders, scoring eight points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field and added four rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Since the Messiah game, Letcavage has averaged seven points and seven rebounds a game in less than 18 minutes a contest.

"All year Ang and the rest of the freshmen have worked hard to get better," Ream said. "She's just a hard worker and great rebounder."

Senior captain forward Amy Harrington finished with six points and an assist. She caps off a Crusader career in which she scored 928 points and set the school record for 3-pointers with 110. Harrington averaged 9.0 points per game and led the Crusaders with 26 3-pointers during her final season.

"Amy set such a good example with her work ethic," Ream said. "She leads that way and set a great example for all of us."

The game closed out a season in which the young Crusaders (Harrington is the team's only senior) set a school record for losses, finishing 9-15 overall and 3-11 in the Commonwealth Conference. Still, the Crusaders finished in seventh place in the conference, ahead of 2-12 Albright. It was the Crusaders' first losing season in 13 years, although Head Coach Mark Hribar has never guided his team to a last place finish in 15 years at the helm.

"It was a great feeling to finally get things to go our way," Ream said.

In the last three games, the Crusaders have taken nationally-ranked Messiah to overtime before falling just short at 63-61 and beaten a Commonwealth Conference playoff-bound team in Moravian, winning convincingly 74-55. The Crusaders also held the halftime lead over Widener before falling.

To open the season, the Crusaders won the Pepsi/Weis Markets Tip-Off Tournament, winning the championship by beating Grove City. The Crusaders would follow that with a 70-67 win over Ursinus to improve to 3-0 before dropping 11 of their next 14 games, including their first seven conference clashes before beating Elizabethtown 54-51 on Jan. 26.

The Crusaders finished with a 3-3 mark in February, led by the strong play of sophomore center Courtney Sokol, who averaged 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds for the month, including two consecutive 14-point, seven-rebound performances in wins over Albright and Lycoming.

SPORTS HEADLINES

Crusaders nearly upset Jays

Swimmers finish year at MACs

Late collapse leads to loss on road

Softball looks to defend crown

Ranieri looks to lead Crusaders to title

Miller predicts success for young squad

Zook leads young Crusaders

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