WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Stevenson University senior Sara Tarbert tied the NCAA Division III women's basketball record for consecutive double-doubles with 24 points and a career-high 23 rebounds as the Mustangs rallied from a 10-point third quarter deficit to post a 67-57 win at Lycoming College at Lamade Gymnasium Saturday afternoon. The game marked the regular season finale for both schools.
Stevenson (17-8, 12-4 MAC Commonwealth) had locked up the No. 3 seed in next week's MAC Commonwealth Championship prior to the game, but it will return to action Wednesday when it travels to second-seeded Messiah for a semifinal Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. Lycoming (14-10, 8-8) could have locked up a home game in Monday's first round against Lebanon Valley with a win, but instead will travel to the fourth-seeded Dutchmen Monday evening.
Tarbert, with her 26th straight double-double, ties the NCAA Division III record for consecutive double-doubles held by Norwich's Christine Daniels. Daniels had 26 straight games with a double-double from November 15, 2010 to February 22, 2011. Tarbert clinched her 26th straight double-double with a rebound at the 3:39 mark of the third quarter. Tarbert totaled 24 points on 8-18 shooting, including 3-5 behind the arc and 5-6 at the free throw line, while her 23 rebounds surpass her previous career high of 20. She also finished with a career-best six assists.
Three other players finished in double figures for Stevenson, as junior Kaitlyn VanTash, sophomore Jonyae Curry and freshman Hannah Crist all tallied 11 points apiece. VanTash also grabbed six rebounds, while Curry added three steals. Crist finished 4-9 from the floor.
Lycoming was led by Nicole Calella's 17 points.
Stevenson trailed 32-31 at halftime, but the Warriors outscored the Mustangs 11-2 over the first 5:17 of the second half to open up a 43-33 lead. The Mustangs held Lycoming without a field goal for the rest of the third quarter and outscored the hosts 12-1 in the rest of the frame to take a 45-44 lead on a VanTash layup as time expired. Stevenson had six offensive rebounds during the run.
Calella broke Lycoming's field goal drought 18 seconds into the fourth quarter and another basket at the 8:35 mark gave the Warriors a 48-45 lead. The lead was short-lived as VanTash knocked down a three at the 8:03 mark to tie the game, then following an empty Lycoming possession, a conventional three-point play by Crist made it 51-48 in favor of the visitors with 7:27 left. Lycoming again went over three minutes without a field goal, allowing Stevenson to take a 57-50 lead with 6:19 left.
Lycoming scored five straight points to cut the lead to two with 5:16 left on a three by Morgan Mader, but from there, Stevenson held its hosts to just one field goal the rest of the way, a layup with 43 seconds left, as it scored 10 straight points to build a 67-55 lead and put the game away.
Stevenson trailed 19-14 after one quarter but outscored the Warriors 11-4 over the first 5:08 of the second quarter to take a 25-23 lead on a layup by Curry at the 4:52 mark. The Mustangs led for much of the rest of the quarter, but two free throws by Calella with four ticks on the clock gave Lycoming a 32-31 halftime lead.
The Mustangs held Lycoming to just six field goals and 22.2% shooting over the final 20 minutes while they shot 42.1% from the floor, including a 5-11 effort from behind the arc. Lycoming took four more trips to the free throw line, going 19-23 while Stevenson was 14-19, but the Warriors were just 2-12 from three-point land and got outrebounded 47-26. Stevenson held a 19-11 lead in second chance points.
Stevenson was swept by Messiah during the regular season, falling 69-68 at Messiah on January 5 and 52-39 to the Falcons at home on February 1.