Naz women take title in first Mike Daley invite

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — All-tournament team selection Lizzie Straub scored a game-high 15 points and went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line Sunday as Nazareth prevailed over Buffalo State, 61-49, in the championship game of the inaugural Mike Daley Invitational at the Kidera Gymnasium. Rachel Benedict (Brockport) added nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds and was selected as tournament MVP.

Coupled with Saturday’s 92-56 victory over Cobleskill, the Golden Flyers are 3-0 overall. Buffalo State dropped to 1-1. Hilbert defeated Cobleskill, 70-63, in the consolation game. Taylor Corts made the all-tournament team for Hilbert and Cobleskill was represented by Nylasia Sutton. Katie Villarini scored 12 points for Buffalo State and was named to the all-tournament team.

Leading 29-24 at halftime, Nazareth pulled away with a solid third quarter by outscoring the Bengals 16-6 to take a 45-30 lead into the final 10 minutes. The lead remained in double digits until the closing minutes. Kendall Mills hit a three-pointer for Buffalo State with 2:34 left to make the score 53-44. Nazareth preserved the win by hitting 8 of 10 free throws in the final minute. Benedict and Straub each made two and Makalah Sizer (Brighton) sank four.

Nazareth led 9-5 after one quarter as the Golden Flyers kept Buffalo State scoreless over the first seven-plus minutes. The Golden Flyers’ lead grew to 24-17 in the second quarter following a three-point play by traub with 2:10 to go. Buffalo State clawed back to 24-23, but Nazareth closed the half with a basket by Benedict and a three-pointer by Ryann Stefaniak to go up 29-24 at the half.

The third quarter was highlighted by three-point baskets by Jadyn Abrams and Caley Cornwell and a basket and free throw for Stefaniak. Abrams finished with nine points with three three-pointers and Stefaniak had eight. Isabella Gjonaj had six points, five rebounds and four blocks.

Nazareth plays again Thursday in the fourth annual Mark’s Pizzeria Crosstown Shootout at RIT at 8 p.m. The Golden Flyers will also take on the University of Rochester Saturday at 6 p.m. at RIT.

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