Mercyhurst Women Battle in NCAA Tournament


The Mercyhurst women’s basketball team lost to seventh-ranked California (Pa.), 86-75, in the NCAA Atlantic Region semifinals on Saturday, finishing a season in which the Lakers appeared in their first NCAA Tournament since 1994-95.

Angela Heintz led the Mercyhurst effort with a double-double — one assist shy of a triple-double — as she ended with 24 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Natalie Piaggesi added 21 points and three blocks while Maria Lapertosa contributed 10 points.

A game of runs finally went the host Vulcans’ way in the fourth quarter, when an 11-2 stretch gave Cal a 75-63 lead with 3:09 left.

California (30-3) opened the game with a 7-0 run and led by as many as 10 before the Lakers battled back with an eight-point streak of their own. Hayley Andres put in four consecutive points as Mercyhurst closed the deficit to 20-19 in the first.

After taking a three-point lead into the second period, Cal took charge late in the quarter with 12 straight points, including six from Seairra Barrett. That pushed Cal to a 42-30 halftime lead.

Mercyhurst outscored Cal, 21-14, in the third as Heintz and Lapertosa led the charge with 10 and eight points, respectively. Heintz was 4 of 4 from the field and 2 of 2 from the line during the period.

Heading into the fourth, the Lakers trailed 56-51 and eventually closed the margin to three on a layup by Piaggesi before Cal pulled away.

Barrett led a quintet of five Cal scorers in double-figures with 21 points. Shatara Parsons had a double-double worth 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lakers end their season with a 24-8 record, having matched the program’s all-time wins record set by the ’94-95 Mercyhurst squad that finished 24-6.

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