LANCASTER, Pa. – Washington and Lee junior guard Taylor Casey (Brentwood, Tenn. / Franklin Road Academy) poured in 27 points and put on a clutch free throw display down the stretch to lead the women's basketball team to a 62-55 win over Franklin & Marshall on the second day of the Terry Browne Tip-Off Classic on Sunday.
Trailing by six points entering the fourth quarter, F&M (1-2) cut the W&L (2-1) lead to four points just four seconds into the final frame on a layup from senior guard Sarah Pisani. From that point until the 3:14-mark of the quarter, the Generals steadily extended their lead to 49-38, helped by six points from sophomore guard Erin Hughes (Raleigh, N.C. / Ravenscroft School).
The Diplomats managed to outscore the Generals, 17-13, the rest of the way, but it was not enough to complete the comeback. Over the final two and a half minutes, Casey, who was named to the All-Tournament team at the conclusion of the game, connected on 9-of-10 free throws to keep the Generals ahead and out of striking distance.
Despite holding the Diplomats scoreless through more than six minutes in the third quarter, the Generals' offense produced only four points in the stretch to run their lead to 14 points at 29-15. A three-pointer from Pisani at the 3:59-mark in the third got the Diplomats going in the period, as they outscored W&L, 14-6, over the final four minutes to cut the deficit to six points entering the final frame.
With the score tied, 5-5, midway through the opening quarter, the Generals proceeded to score eight straight points to take a 13-5 lead with 46 seconds remaining. W&L exhibited balanced scoring over the run, as four players scored two points each during the stretch.
Leading, 15-9, to start the second quarter, the Generals continued their strong defensive play and kept up the tempo on offense, outscoring the Diplomats, 10-2, over the first 8:27 of the period to increase their lead to 25-11. Franklin & Marshall closed the period with a pair of buckets in the final two minutes as the half ended with the Generals holding a 25-15 lead.
Casey's 27 points were a season high, as she made 13-of-14 shots from the free throw line to salt the game away. Her 27 points were the most in a game by a General since February 17 of last season when Emily Perszyk '18 poured in 28 in a 72-69 win over Shenandoah, while it also marked the most points Casey scored in a game since putting up a career-best 32 on February 21, 2017, against Roanoke. It was her third career game with at least 27 points and her 13-of-14 performance at the free throw line marked career bests in makes and attempts.
Hughes and first-year guard Jordan Diehl (Springboro, Ohio / Springboro) chipped in eight points each and combined to shoot 5-for-12 (.417) from the field. Junior forward Andy Smithey (Charlotte, N.C. / Saint Mary's School) pulled in a team-high eight rebounds, while first-year guard Megan Horn (Basking Ridge, N.J. / The Pingry School) grabbed six boards.
The Diplomats were led by first-year forward Kenna Williams, who turned in a 13-point, 19-rebound double-double to go along with four blocks. Pisani and senior guard Haley Pilone also packed an offensive punch for Franklin & Marshall along the way, scoring 15 and 13 points, respectively.
The Generals limited the Diplomats to 31.7-percent shooting (19-of-60) in the game, including 20.8-percent (5-of-24) in the first half, but converted on just 31.0-percent (18-of-58) of their own field goals. Free throw shooting kept W&L ahead in the game as the team made 25-of-28 attempts on the day, the most made free throws in a game since making 26 in a 76-65 win over Birmingham Southern exactly one year ago.
Points in the paint were at an even 30-30 for the two teams, but W&L won the turnover battle, 20-11, and outscored the Diplomats, 19-8, in points off turnovers. Franklin & Marshall edged the Generals, 13-4, in second chance points.
The Generals will be back in action on Tuesday when they face Roanoke in their first ODAC matchup of the season, a road contest beginning at 6:00 pm.
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