YORK, Pa. — Even though Goucher never trailed by more than eight points through the first three quarters and got as close as three points in the final period, York was able to hold off head coach Patrick Daniel's squad tonight and earn a 72-65 non-conference victory.
It was the final contest for the Gophers (4-4) before they head west to take part in the 2015 Las Vegas Hoopla on Dec. 20-21. Their first contest there will be against Bridgewater (Va.) at 7 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Joyce Woolen (Trumbull, Conn./Trumbull) and Amaka Ezeani (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch) accounted for all eight points Goucher managed against York in the first quarter, which ended with the Spartans (7-0) on top by six points.
In the second period, the home team extended its advantage to 22-14 on a layup by Morgan Kuehne with 6:55 showing on the clock, but the Gophers were able to trim their deficit to a single point twice on made baskets 41 seconds apart by Jaida Scarborough (Baltimore, Md./Digital Harbor) and Ecstacie Ryles (Arundel Mills, Md./Arundel).
The Spartans led at the break, 30-27.
Early in the third quarter, York went on a 5-0 run to build its lead back up to eight, but once again, Goucher kept its opponent within striking distance. When India Perkins (Brentwood, Md./Bladensburg) and Kristi Kozlowski (Kingsville, Md./Redeemer Classical Christian) sank mid-range jumpers on back-to-back possessions, the Gophers were suddenly trailing just 38-37 with four minutes remaining in the period. When the horn sounded to end the third quarter, York's cushion was back up to seven points at 50-43.
Briana Bull (Baltimore, Md./Owings Mills) and Ezeani accounted for 17 of the 22 points the visiting team tallied in the fourth quarter, a total that was matched by the Spartans. The closest Goucher got in the final 10 minutes was 54-51 on a layup by Ezeani.
"Really proud of our effort, but unfortunately, we did not do enough of the little things," Daniel said after the game. "We have to convert our free throws, make layups and play better defense for the entire game.
"We got better tonight and we will continue to improve because we know losing cannot be acceptable moving forward."