Second Quarter Run Helps Mercyhurst Women End Clarion Season in PSAC Playoffs

ERIE, Pa. (EYT) – Franklin graduate Hayley Andres scored six points, including the first three of the game, and added five rebounds and an assist to help Mercyhurst knock off visiting Clarion, 74-46, in the opening round of the PSAC Women’s Basketball Playoffs Monday night.

Watch Andres gives Mercyhurst a 3-2 lead.

“That was awesome,” Andres said about her game-opening shot. “I was just excited to get it started off going right. My shot feel down today. I hit it. I knew it was going to be a good day from there on out.”

Mercyhurst (23-6), enjoying its best season in over 20 seasons, used a 14-1 second-quarter run that was aided in part by Clarion’s best player, Tyra Polite, losing her mind after an illegal screen foul was called on her, her third foul of the game and getting accessed a technical foul, her fourth foul of the game, when she swore about referee Kaitlyn Tortorice, who made the original call.

The run started with a 3-pointer by Andres, her second of the game, and was followed by a basket by Natalie Piaggesi, who was virtually unstoppable with 31 points and seven rebounds on 12 of 15 shooting.

Following Piaggesi’s basket, Polite, Clarion’s leading scorer, was whistled for the illegal screen and on her way off the court had some choice words for Tortorice and was whistled for the technical.

Clarion head coach Jana Ashley pleaded with Tortorice that the Mercyhurst player had held Polite to no avail.

An interview request by EYT Media with Ashley after the game was denied by the third-year Clarion head coach.

With Polite on the bench in the deep foul trouble as well as two fouls on point guard Jordan Bekelja Clarion wasn’t able to cut into the Lakers lead, and Mercyhurst led by 18, 44-26, at the half.

The Golden Eagles (15-14), who enjoyed their first winning season since 2010, tried to cut into the lead in the early part of the third quarter and were within 15, 44-29, following another Jones-Carey basket a minute into the half but Polite was whistled for her fifth and final foul with 8:11 to go, and Mercyhurst kept the lead between 15 and 22 points the remainder of the quarter and led 56-36 by the end of the quarter.

That lead grew to as many as 30 on three occasions in the fourth quarter.

“I told our seniors, with tonight being their last home game, make it the best you can,” Mercyhurst head coach Deanna Richard said. “Don’t play it just for the 40 minutes. Play it for every possession. Make it the best possible possession ever. Play it like it’s your last game. You never know if it is or not.”

Angela Heintz added 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for Mercyhurst with Maria LaPertosa adding eight points off the bench.

Jen Straw, also playing her final game for Clarion, added 10 points and five rebounds.

Mercyhurst travels to IUP for a quarterfinal game Wednesday.


Score by Quarters

Clarion 14 12 10 10 – 46
Mercyhurst 20 24 12 18 – 74


Amesha Harden-Pullium 1-15 3-6 5, Jordan Bekelja 0-6 2-2 2, Delrika Jones-Careys 7-13 4-6 18, Tyra Polite 2-5 1-2 5, Jen Straw 5-8 0-0 10, Maniah Robinson 2-5 0-0 5, Shelby Coughenour 0-1 0-0 0, Mrina Kelly 0-1 0-0 0, Tynita White 0-0 1-2 1, Ashley Deleonibus 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 11-18 46.


Hayley Andres 2-4 0-0 6, Natalie Piaggesi 12-15 7-7 31, Angela Heintz 5-12 6-8 17, Jalin Steel 2-6 0-0 4, Jessica Bell 0-2 2-4 2, Stephanie Petery 0-0 0-0 0, Maria LaPertosa 3-7 0-0 9, Kori Sidewell 1-2 0-0 2, Lauren LaPrestosa 0-0 0-0 0, Emilee Norris 0-0 0-0 0, Amber Renz 0-1 2-4 2, Jamaya Shabazz 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 25-50 19-25 74.

Three-pointers: Clarion 1-15 (Robinson 1-2, Harden-Pullium 0-6, Bekelja 0-4, Polite 0-2, Kelly 0-1). Mercyhurst 5-12 (Andres 2-3, M. LaPertosa 2-3, Heintz 1-4, Steel 0-2).

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