Spartan Women Rally, but Come Up Just Shy in Upset Bid of No. 5 Rochester

Erica Iafelice (photo by Annie O'Neill)
Erica Iafelice (photo by Annie O'Neill)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Junior point guard Erica Iafelice (North Canton, Ohio/Canton Hoover) turned in an all-around performance with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals, but the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team saw a late rally fall short in a 73-61 loss to No. 5 nationally-ranked University of Rochester in its third-straight game versus a top-10 opponent on Friday evening at the Palestra. The Spartans trailed by as many as 24 in the contest but got as close as three late in the game.

The Spartans (8-7, 1-3 University Athletic Association) continue a four-game conference road swing on Sunday, January 22 at Emory University at 2:00 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia. Rochester (15-0, 4-0 UAA) stays unbeaten and tied for first in the conference.

In addition to Iafelice, senior forward Erin Hollinger (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon) scored a team-high 17 points, while junior guard Evy Iacono (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) contributed 12.

The Spartans opened fast with the first four points via buckets from Iacono and senior forward Chelsea Peck (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic), but Rochester came back with a 7-2 run and grabbed the lead at the 17:01 mark following a jumper from Jackie Walker.

The Yellowjackets then extended their run to 22-2 as Case was held scoreless for 6:47 until Iacono hit two free throws to bring the score to 22-8 with 11:56 left in the first half. The Rochester lead hit a high of 24 when Laney Ming hit a jumper to make the score 37-13 at 7:27, but the Spartans were able to end the half on a 16-6 run and trimmed their deficit to 14, at 43-29, as freshman Rachel Beaty (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) hit a triple as time expired.

In the second half, the Spartans hung with the Yellowjackets and used an 8-0 run to get within three, at 59-56, as Hollinger grabbed an offensive board and followed with a layup with 5:10 remaining in the game.  But, Rochester was able to weather the storm and finished the game on a 14-5 run to secure its 15th win of the season.

The Yellowjackets had three in double-figures for the game, including Danielle McNabb with a game-high 18 points.