Men’s and women’s basketball teams fall to Spartans
This Saturday the men’s and women’s Carnegie Mellon University basketball teams both ended their seasons in a doubleheader at home against Case Western Reserve University. Both the men’s and women’s teams recognized their seniors for all they had done to send them out on a high note. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray and both teams faltered.
The women started off the doubleheader and came out with a vengeance, rushing out to a quick 11–5 lead in the first five minutes. It looked like the Tartans were ready to dominate, with several players slicing through the defense for high-percentage layups.
After back-to-back jump shots by the team’s two senior guards, Jacquie Shaw and Jennifer Elkin, gave Carnegie Mellon its six-point lead, the Spartans battled back.
Several times Case Western brought the lead to within one point, but the Tartans were ready with an answer until less than 10 minutes remained in the half and a three-pointer by the Spartans gave the visitors their first lead.
Teams traded the lead back and forth for the next few minutes, each struggling to get an edge. Finally, Case Western went on an 8–0 run and stretched their lead out to eight points. The Tartans were able to keep up somewhat down the stretch and contained the damage to a 36–29 deficit going into half.
Coming out of half, the Tartans slowly whittled away at the lead until junior guard Chandler Caufield tied the game with a three-pointer with just over 15 minutes left in the game. From that point on, the teams kept the game fairly even, trading three-pointers and layups until under a minute was left in the game. After a free throw by first-year center-forward Lisa Murphy drew Carnegie Mellon to within one point, a three-point dagger by the Spartans made it a two possession game.
After Murphy missed a jump shot on the other end of the court, the Tartans had no choice but to intentionally foul and hope for missed free throws. Lucky for the Tartans, they got their wish and two missed free throws by the Spartans and a three-pointer from junior forward Liza Otto gave them the ball down three with four seconds left and no timeouts.
Otto was able to get the ball on the other side of half court before heaving up the tying prayer. Sadly for the Tartans, the ball bounced off the rim and then careened harmlessly away from the basket as the buzzer sounded. Shaw led the Tartans with 38 minutes and 20 points, while Murphy and Otto both recorded double-double.
For the men, the game was never close. The last lead the Tartans held in the game was just over four minutes in as senior forward Rob Mohen and senior forward-guard Christian Manoli combined for Carnegie Mellon’s first nine points.
From that point on, the Tartans had no answer for the Spartans’ offensive attack, with Case Western dominating in all aspects, shooting 50 percent from the field for the game to match a blistering 38.1 percent from the three-point line and a perfect 14–14 from the free throw line.
The only hope for Carnegie Mellon was their three-point shooting, but a rough night shooting less than 20 percent from beyond the arc dampened any hopes of a senior day comeback.
While they ultimately outscored Case Western in the second half by a point, it was far too little too late.
The only advantage of the blowout was that it allowed each coach to separately sub out their seniors with a few minutes remaining, allowing them to individually be applauded for the service they gave to their schools over their careers. Manoli led the Tartans with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
As each team says goodbye to its seniors and looks toward next season, they are in two very different spots. The women are only losing two rotation players and a dominant season by Murphy gives them hope for the future.
The men, on the other hand, are losing a hefty majority of their rotation players, and will be looking for many players to step up their game next season if they hope to compete.