Women's Basketball

Lady Vikings Go Out On High Note

March 16, Corning, N.Y. – Playing in their final junior college hoop game, Hudson Valley Community College's three second-year players -– Lindsey Bradt, Megan Davis and Meghan Squires -– proved that their team belonged at the NJCAA Division III national championship women's basketball tournament Saturday afternoon. Thanks to the trio, Hudson Valley quickly opened up a 10-point lead against Connecticut's Manchester Community College.

It was the first-year players who reinforced the sense of belonging for head coach Colleen Ferris's Lady Vikings, though, playing big minutes and helping Hudson Valley capture seventh place in the tourney with a 70-40 runaway victory over Manchester.

Bradt, an All-American and Hudson Valley's all-time leading scorer, topped all scorers with 27 points, but reserve freshman Jill Valachovic was next with 13 points in 19 minutes of action.

Every Lady Viking played at least 13 minutes, and eight of Hudson Valley's nine players, all former Section II athletes, made it to the scoring column.

"I knew we belonged at the national championship tournament," said Ferris, whose squad narrowly lost its first two tourney games. "It was just a matter of my players proving it to themselves."

Hudson Valley certainly played like it had something to prove early on. Bradt drained a 3-pointer just 23 seconds into the game and, using a pressure defense that led to 17 first-half turnovers by Manchester, the Lady Vikings jumped out to a 10-1 lead.

Davis was steady at the point, dishing the ball for three assists in the first half, and Bradt and Squires combined for 14 points during Hudson Valley's game-opening 18-8 run.

"We all knew it was going to be our last game," said Bradt, who tallied nine rebounds and five steals. "We wanted to save our pride. Nobody wants to lose three straight tournament games. Winning the way we did today is a good way to prove that we belonged at the national championship tournament."

Just 10 minutes into the game, with Hudson Valley holding a double-digit advantage, Ferris began playing musical chairs with her bench. Manchester could not get closer than eight points the rest of the way, and the Lady Vikings outscored Manchester, 37-18, in the second half.

Valachovic, a backup point guard, had a stellar game. In addition to her baker's-dozen point total, she had six assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals. She committed no turnovers.

Amy Trowbridge, another first-year sub, helped Hudson Valley stake a 33-22 first-half lead, pulling down four rebounds in the game's opening 20 minutes.

Angela von Wergers, a first-year forward, had six points and seven rebounds.

In all, Hudson Valley got 21 points from its bench.

"Coach Ferris did a great job recruiting," said Bradt, whose services are currently being sought by a wide array of four-year schools. "Everyone on this team can come in at any time and contribute. I'm looking forward to watching Hudson Valley play next year; they're going to be very good."

"Our freshman are a big part of the reason why we got here," Ferris said. "And they needed the experience of playing in big games like this."

Squires, who saw limited action in the second half due to an ankle injury, had 10 points and nine rebounds. Davis, sporting a black eye, which she obtained in Friday's loss to Ridgewater, had five rebounds, six assists and five steals.

"It was great to be here," Ferris said. "To have earned our way into the top eight teams in the country, that says something. These players should be very proud."