Washington, D.C. -- Salem College cruised by UMaine-Presque Isle 71-47 in Saturdays GSAC semi-final. With the win Salem moves on the play #2 seed Pine Manor with a bid to the NCAA National Tournament on the line. The Owls finish the season at 18-7 and own one of the biggest turnarounds in NCAA Division III basketball, with a ten win improvement over last season.
With 11:13 left in the first half, UMaine-Presque Isle was only down 14-10, despite missing four layups from point blank range. The #1 seeded Spirits held a convincing size advantage that would dominate the inside both offensively and defensively. In all, the Owls would miss 12 first half layups that signaled doom for the Northern Maine crew, as they went into halftime down 42-18.
Presque Isle opened the second half on a 10-4 run in typical Owl style, having each of the 5 starters score baskets to make the score 46-28 with 13:40 remaining in the game, but Salem would score 12 points to the Owls 5 in the next six minutes to stop any momentum the Owls had built.
The second half did see the Owls rally to play quality basketball, as Presque Isle played even with the Spirit, with each side scoring 29 points in the second stanza. Amanda Hotham came alive and hit on 8 of 11 shots to score 18 of the Owls 29 in the half. Rebecca Campbell also scored 4 and grabbed 5 boards for the Blue & Gold.
Hotham led the Owls with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Darby Toth added 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Satavia Taylor had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks on the day. Taylor was named the 2014 GSAC Player of the Year the evening before, her second such award in two years and scored her 1,000 point with her 5th basket of the game. Taylor becomes only the second spirit ever to score 1,000 points in a career and she did that playing only two seasons at Salem, after transferring from Cloud County Community College in Kansas.
GSAC Tourney Update
Salem College defeated Pine Manor 82-72 in the GSAC Championship to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Salem will next play the #1 ranked Thomas More Saints in Crestview Hills, Kentucky on Friday, March 7th at 7pm.
Video of the first round matchup can be seen here: