GRANTHAM, Pa. – Top-seeded and No. 15 nationally Messiah College never trailed as it eliminated No. 4 seed Stevenson University from the 2018 MAC Commonwealth Women's Basketball Championship with a 67-42 win Wednesday night at Hitchcock Arena. The Falcons (24-2) advance to Saturday's final where they will host second-seeded Albright.
Stevenson (16-11) saw a four-game win streak snapped and now awaits word of a possible ECAC Championship berth. The Mustangs were led by sophomore Hannah Crist, who finished with nine points. Freshman Olivia Coleman tallied eight points, while sophomore Mariama Keita and freshman Denia Campbell each totaled six points off the bench.
The Falcons received a game-high 23 points from Leah Springer off the bench, while Alecia Rohrer totaled 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Messiah never trailed and the game was tied twice, at 2-2 and 4-4, before an 8-0 Falcon run capped by a Springer basket put the hosts up 12-4 with 3:42 to go in the first. Stevenson cut the lead to six twice but Springer scorer at the buzzer to make it 16-8 after one quarter. The Falcons opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run to open a 25-10 lead with 5:38 left before halftime, and held the Mustangs without a field goal for the final 5:26 of the half as they built a 29-14 lead.
The Falcons extended their lead to 37-16 two minutes into the third quarter and maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way, leading 51-31 after three quarters and leading by as many as 30 in the final frame.
Messiah shot 39.4% from the floor but misfired on all nine of its three-point attempts, but the Falcons did hold Stevenson to 1-10 behind the arc and 25.8% overall. The victors held a 53-37 rebound advantage, including 19-14 on the offensive glass.
Stevenson was making its fifth straight MAC Commonwealth Championship appearance.