Despite a 'Senior Day' atmosphere at Case Western Reserve University on Saturday afternoon, the Spartan women suffered a loss in their season finale, dropping a 72-65 decision to the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans at Horsburgh Gymnasium.
With the loss, the Spartans ended their season with an overall record of 13-12, including a 5-9 record in the University Athletic Association. Carnegie Mellon concluded the regular season with an 18-7 overall record and a 7-7 conference mark, as the Spartans and the Tartans split their season series.
Playing in the last game of her collegiate career, senior guard and team co-captain Jess McCoy led the Spartans with 18 points on seven-of-11 shooting, while junior forward and co-captain Kara Hageman added 12 points and six rebounds, and freshman guard Alicia Marie Gonzales scored 11 points and added five assists. However, it was not enough to overcome a tremendous effort from Carnegie Mellon's Lisa Murphy, who scored 34 points and collected 24 rebounds in the final regular season game of her collegiate career.
Case Western Reserve utilized the long-range shot in the first half, making eight three pointers and shooting 40.0% from behind the three point line, en route to carrying a 33-30 lead into the halftime break. After trailing by four with 5:02 to play in the period, freshman guard Kendall McConico knocked down a three-pointer to give the Spartans a 12-11 lead with 1:36 left in the first period. However, the Tartans scored the final five points of the period to take a 16-12 lead into the second quarter, and gained a game-high six point lead early in the second. The Spartans regained the lead on a jumper by McCoy with 4:52 left in the period, putting the team up 21-20, and a late run pushed the Spartans' advantage to 33-28 with 40 seconds remaining in the half, before a late jumper by CMU's Makayla Filiere cut the advantage to 33-30 heading into halftime.
The Spartans got to work early in the second half, extending their lead with a 10-2 run that gave the team an 11-point advantage with 6:49 to play, 43-32 on a three-point shot by McCoy. The Tartans trimmed the lead to as few as three in the period, but CWRU went into the fourth quarter leading by seven, 55-48. The Spartans maintained a lead until the 3:19 mark, but fell behind on a layup by Murphy that made the score 64-63. After exchanging leads over the next two possessions, Carnegie Mellon took the lead for good on another layup by Murphy with 2:13 to play, and Carnegie Mellon made six of eight free throws down the stretch to expand its lead, on the way to the win.
Prior to the start of the game, the Spartans recognized their two graduating players – McCoy and senior guard Alex Roth – who were appearing in their final career game for CWRU. McCoy finished her career with 1,134 points, the eighth-most all-time in program history.
In addition, Hageman capped off an outstanding individual campaign, setting a school scoring record and becoming the first woman in program history to score over 500 points in a season, finishing the year with 502.
The Spartans 13 wins during the 2016-17 campaign were the team's most since the 2012-13 campaign, and its 1,859 points were the most in a 25-game season in program history.