Case Western Reserve University junior forward Kara Hageman scored a career-high 28 points and added 10 rebounds to lead the Spartans to lead the Spartans to the team championship at the SpringHill Suites Tournament in Washington, Pennsylvania with an 80-77 win over La Roche College on Saturday.
Hageman was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, after averaging 24.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.5 blocks, while shooting 66.6% (20-of-30) from the field over the Spartans' two wins. Saturday's double-double was the ninth of her career and her second of the season, as she has averaged 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds through the team's first three games of the campaign.
Also earning an All-Tournament Team selection was sophomore forward Hillary Hellmann, who connected on nine-of-16 shots for 21 points in the game, and averaged 19.5 points over the two tournament games.
The win was the second-straight for the Spartans, who improved to 2-1 overall, while La Roche dropped to 1-2 with the setback.
The Spartans fell behind early on Saturday, after the Redhawks' Sabrina McLin hit her third three of the first period to extend La Roche's lead to 16-7 with 4:30 remaining. Case Western Reserve would close the quarter on a 12-4 run, keyed by eight points from Hageman, cutting the lead to a point, 20-19, by the first break. Layups by senior Jess McCoy and freshman Kendall McConico helped give the Spartans a four-point advantage early in the second, but McLin hit two more threes and a pair of free throws to put La Roche back ahead, 30-26, with 6:14 remaining in the half. Case Western Reserve responded again, eventually taking a five-point lead on a layup by Hageman, and ending the half with a three-point advantage, 42-39.
Hageman connected on eight-of-11 shots in the first half for 22 points, while McLin tallied 27 points of her own in the first 20 minutes on an eight-of-13 shooting effort, including a six-of-eight mark from long range.
The Spartans took control in the third, seeing their lead expand to a game-high eight points on a three-pointer by senior guard Alex Roth with 4:44 remaining in the period. La Roche would tie the game at 63-63 with 1:01 remaining in the third, before a layup by McConico gave the Spartans a two-point advantage heading into the final period.
An early 9-2 run by the Redhawks put the Spartans in a five-point hole, 72-67, with 6:34 left in the game, but a three-pointer by Hellmann, followed by a jumper from Hageman and a layup by Hellman, tied the game at 74 apiece with 4:07 remaining. After a La Roche free throw, CWRU took the lead back on a layup by freshman Alicia Marie Gonzales with 2:32 remaining, and a turnover by the Redhawks, led to a Hellmann jumper to extend the lead to three with 1:48 left.
La Roche cut the lead to one with 1:08 remaining, but the Spartans were able to take time off the clock with a pair of key offensive rebounds by Hageman and Hellmann kept the ball in CWRU's possession until the 18-second mark. La Roche had a final chance to take the lead, but McLin missed a layup with 10 seconds left in the game, and McCoy converted a pair of free throws to extend the Spartans lead to three. A last-second three point attempt to tie the game by McLin missed the mark, as the Spartans held on for the win.
McCoy finished the game with another well-rounded effort, scoring 11 points, collecting eight rebounds, and registering a career-best eight assists. McConico added 11 points as well, the first double-figure scoring effort of her brief career.
McLin led all players in the game with 36 points for La Roche, while Darrian Johnson added 15, and Mackenzie O'Donnell contributed with 14.
The Spartans will return to Cleveland to begin a three-game home stand this week, when Case Western Reserve plays host to Baldwin Wallace University on Tuesday, November 22nd at 7:00 p.m.