Fisher women come back to beat Utica

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UTICA, N.Y. – The St. John Fisher College women’s basketball team remained unblemished in conference play on Friday as the Cardinals overcame a second half deficit en route to a 66-53 win over Utica College inside Clark Gymnasium.  With the win, the Cardinals improved to 10-4 overall and 3-0 in the conference standings.  Utica closed out the day at 9-6 on the season and 2-2 in Empire 8 action.

After struggling to generate much on the offensive end of the floor and falling behind by five points through two quarters of play, the Cardinals came out of the locker room with a new-found intensity and used a 7-2 run to pull to within two, 34-32.

From there, the Pioneers would try to regain their foothold after building their lead back up to five points, but the Cardinals countered with eight of the quarter’s next 10 points to hold a one-point edge, 40-39.  The lead would change hands two more times over the final two minutes of the third quarter before a pair of free throws by Utica tied the game at 43-43 heading into the final period.

With the score deadlocked and 10 minutes remaining in the contest, the Cardinals put their foot on the gas as head coach Melissa Kuberka‘s squad buried two 3-pointers as part of a 10-0 run over the opening 3:28 to hold a double-digit cushion, 53-43.

Utica would cut the deficit to eight points midway through the frame, but the Cardinals built a 15-point lead courtesy of seven unanswered points to hold a 62-47 advantage with 1:02 still showing on the clock.  Utica would make it interesting after connecting on back-to-back 3-pointers, but the home team was never able to mount a serious threat as time ran out with Fisher holding a 13-point margin.

Miranda Lynch (Webster Thomas) led Fisher with 12 points as the sophomore knocked down four from distance to go along with six rebounds.  Ella Eckert added nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds in the win while Julia Mertsock added nine points and nine boards of her own.  Amy Gardner chipped in with seven points, three assists and a pair of rebounds.  Mallory Wood provided nine points and eight rebounds off the bench.

As a team, Fisher dominated the glass as it out-rebounded Utica, 48-27, including 18 on the offensive end of the floor.  In all, the Cardinals had 13 assists on 25 made field goals and forced Utica in to 11 turnovers.

Fisher will look to remain in in first place in the Empire 8 at 3 p.m. on Saturday when it travels to Troy to take on The Sage Colleges in another Empire 8 showdown.

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