EMMITSBURG, Md. (WDVM) – Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball won it’s second straight Northeast Conference title on Sunday, defeating Bryant 60-42, and punched it’s ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
“This is dream!,” said Mount graduate student guard, Kayla Agentowicz. “It’s something you don’t think about – coming into college and getting a ring – but to do it back-to-back, and get two rings – it’s a dream.”
There’s was immense pressure on first year head coach Antoine White to get this team back to the title game as he basically inherited the championship team from last year.
“It feels amazing,” said White. “It’s been a roller-coaster season, but they stayed with me and we just continued to battle and battle. To start out here in 2016 as an intern, to be sitting in this chair right now, and to be the head coach of this program, it just means so much to me. I’m just so proud and happy for this group.”
Mount was the unanimous favorite to win the title this season, but found themselves in an early hole, having to forfeit the first two games of conference play due to COVID.
“At the beginning of the season, the ball did not bounce our way, ” said graduate student guard Kendall Bresee. “We kept our head down throughout the whole season, we stayed with each other, we didn’t do the whole social media thing [and] we didn’t talk when other teams did that, and I think at the end of the day, we got good karma.”
Mount hosted every single game in the conference tournament as the third seed – a home-court advantage that helped them defeat opponents by and average of 15.3 points per game.
Speaking to the 2,272 fans in attendance on Sunday: “they were our sixth defender today,” said Bresee. “How loud they were. They brought so much energy. The atmosphere, it just…it was amazing.”
Last season when the Mount won the title on home court, they didn’t have that advantage, as no fans were allowed to attend the game due to COVID restrictions.
“That’s one of the main reasons why I came back. It was an amazing feeling winning, and being able to cut down the net with all of our friends and family in the building.”
Mount did not shoot the ball particularly well on Sunday, shooting just 43.1 percent from the field, 25 percent from three-point range, and 83.3 percent from the line. But what they lacked in offense, they made up for on the defensive side of the ball.
“First, just huge credit to coach Dave [Scarborough],” said White. “He’s been our defensive coordinator and that guy works extremely hard at what he does.
The Mountaineers forced Bryant to turn the ball over 20 times, that they converted for 18 points – the margin of victory.
“I told [the team] this in [my] pregame speech that ‘listen, I don’t know if we’re going to shoot the ball well – your offense comes and goes – but one thing that has to be consistent for us is our defense’. Dating back to the CCSU and Sacred Heart series here, our defense turned a corner and that’s what helped us win it last year, and sure enough, that’s what helped us win it this year.”
Michaela Harrison’s 17 points also helped. Harrison averaged just under 20 points per game in the tournament, and so was named Tournament MVP.
Kendall Bresee was the only other Mount player in double-figure scoring with 13 points, and five rebounds. Mount got contributions from five other players, of whom none scored less than three points.
As the NEC Champions, Mount earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers, as a No. 16 seed, will face Longwood, who won the Big South, in a play-in game Thursday at 7 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C. The game will be televised on ESPN2.