PHILADELPHIA, PA – A desperation shot by Mary Newell with 0.9 seconds remaining lifted Philadelphia University past Caldwell University, 74-71 in the semifinals of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Friday afternoon in Philadelphia’s Gallagher Center. The result ends the Cougars’ season at 19-11, while the Rams (22-7) advance to the CACC finals on Saturday, Mar. 7.
Trailing 58-48 with 10 minutes left in the game, Caldwell reeled off 12 straight points, capped by a 3-pointer from sophomore guard Antoinette Pilla (Scarsdale, NY/Ardsley) that put the Cougars ahead, 60-58 with eight minutes on the clock. Philadelphia regained the lead and held a 68-66 advantage when Pilla hit another three for a 69-68 edge with 1:46 on the clock. Senior forward Emily Caswell (Wakefield, RI/Prout School) followed a missed Rams shot with a layup, but Monica Schacker made a 3-pointer with 32 seconds remaining to tie the score at 71-71.
A turnover with six seconds left gave the ball back to Philadelphia. After a foul, Newell ended up with the ball just over the half-court line. She heaved a shot over Caswell from 41 feet that went straight in, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. The buzzer sounded but the referees determined that there was 0.9 seconds on the clock. After the Cougars threw a court-length pass out of bounds, Pilla intercepted the Rams’ inbounds pass. Her last-second shot from midcourt hit the backboard as time expired.
Caldwell led by as many as six points in the first half, including 19-16 following a 3-pointer by freshman guard Sharell Sanders (Dorchester, MA/St. Mary’s) at the 7:11 mark. Three-pointers by Najah Jacobs and Schacker sparked a 10-0 Philadelphia run that put the Rams on top, 23-19 with 4:51 left in the half. Pilla and freshman guard Kristen Drogsler (Middle Village, NY/Christ the King) drained threes to help the Cougars tie the score at 32-32. After a free throw from Jacobs, Pilla drove for a layup to give Caldwell a 34-33 halftime edge. Pilla had 14 points for the Cougars, while the Rams received 14 points from Jacobs.
The Rams started the second half with a 17-8 run to take a 50-42 lead over the first 6:20. Caldwell came back from that deficit but could not overcome Newell’s heroics. Philadelphia shot 54.8 percent from the field in the second half and 50.0 percent for the game compared to 40.9 percent for the Cougars.
Pilla led Caldwell with 22 points, while Caswell tallied 16 points and 17 rebounds for her Division II-leading 24th double-double in her final collegiate game. Drogsler finished with 11 points. Jacobs led the Rams with 22 points, and Schacker added 20 points.
Caswell completes a standout senior year averaging 20.8 points and 14.0 rebounds per game to rank ninth and second in Division II, respectively. She ends her career with 1,486 points and 929 rebounds. Also playing her final game at Caldwell was senior guard Jessica Coscia (Staten Island, NY/Moore Catholic), whose 565 career assists are more than any active player in Division II.
Philadelphia will play in the CACC finals against Holy Family, which defeated USciences, 38-32 in the other semifinal.
2015 CACC Women's Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinals, Saturday, Feb. 28 - at Campus Sites
Game 1: 1S USciences 86, 4N Post 49
Game 2: 3S Holy Family 60, 2N Bloomfield 46
Game 3: 1N Caldwell 87, 4S Goldey-Beacom 85 (OT)
Game 4: 2S Philadelphia 82, 3N Dominican 63
Semifinals, Friday, Mar. 6 - at Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pa.
3S Holy Family 38, 1S USciences 32
2S Philadelphia 74, 1N Caldwell 71
Finals, Saturday, Mar. 7 - at Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, Pa.
3S Holy Family vs. 2S Philadelphia, 4:00 p.m.