Emmitsburg, Md. (March 9, 2014) -- Playing in the program's first home Northeast Conference Tournament game since 2002, the second-seeded Mount St. Mary's women's basketball team took down seventh-seeded Wagner, 75-66, on Sunday afternoon at Knott Arena in the NEC Quarterfinals. Senior Rachel Mathews poured in a career-high 20 points to pace the Mountaineers' offense.
The Mount (19-12) led for all but 1:23 of Sunday's game to defeat the Seahawks (9-21) to advance to the NEC Semifinals for the second season in a row. The victory was the Mount's first in NEC Tournament play at home at Knott Arena since March 1, 1997 versus Rider in the NEC Quarterfinals.
Squaring off with NEC Defensive Player of the Year Ugo Nwaigwe, Mathews made 5-of-7 field goals to go with a 10-of-13 performance at the free throw line. The senior from Richmond, Va. led all scorers with 20 points, besting her previous career-high of 15 set earlier this season versus FDU on Feb. 22.
The Mount took a 2-1 lead on Jacqueline Brewer's layup with 18:37 left in the first half, a lead the Mount would not relinquish the rest of the day. Midway through the opening half, a layup from Kaufman on a feed from Christie gave the Mount a 23-12 edge.
With the Mountaineers in front 26-20, Christie hustled back on defense to knock the ball away, leading to a Kaufman three on the other end. The Mount scored 10 points off seven Wagner turnovers in the first half and finished with 15 points off 13 turnovers in the game.
Wagner, which was led by 17 points apiece from Jasmine Nwajei and Jordyn Peck, trimmed the Mount's lead down to 34-30 with 1:55 showing on the first half clock on a layup by Laura Amorosa.
Two free throws from Mathews on the Mount's next possession gave the home side a 36-30 halftime lead.
Leading by just two at 47-45 midway through the second half, the Mount used an 8-0 run for a 55-45 edge with 8:48 remaining. The closest Wagner would get the rest of the game was five points at 55-50 with just under seven minutes left.
The Mount's lead grew back to 10 points with a pair of Henderson free throws putting the advantage at 62-52. In the final two minutes, the Mount made nine free throws to put the game out of reach.
For the game, the Mountaineers converted 28-of-37 free throws (75.7 percent). The Mount committed a season-low seven turnovers, marking the third time the team has committed fewer than 10 turnovers in a game this season.
The Mountaineers move onto the NEC Semifinals where they will host third-seeded Saint Francis U on Wednesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at Knott Arena.
GAME NOTES: The Mount improved its overall record versus Wagner to 37-15… In NEC Tournament games versus Wagner, the Mount is now 2-1… The Mount evened its record to 19-19 overall in NEC Tournament games.