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Hounds lose in NCAAs; Greyhounds can't hold 14-point lead in second half.

Byline: Henry Schwan

WALTHAM - The Assumption College women's basketball team returned to the place that wasn't kind to the Greyhounds just six days ago when they lost to Bentley University in the Northeast-10 Conference championship game.

Assumption was back at the Dana Center on Friday night and blew a 14-point second-half lead in a 68-62 loss to Holy Family University in the opening round of the NCAA Division 2 East Regional.

"Nobody wants to end their season on a loss, so certainly we're extremely disappointed," Assumption coach Kerry Phayre said.

Five seniors depart an Assumption program that looked like it was headed to a rematch against Bentley in the East Region semifinals. The Falcons defeated LIU Post, 68-57, in an earlier matchup on Friday.

"I'm just proud to be a part of it, especially me and the four seniors and everybody else on the team," said Assumption senior Katy Howard, who led the Hounds with 17 points. "The work that we've done and the records we broke this year. How we all played together and the heart we left our there all the time."

Assumption couldn't stop Holy Family's Erin Mann in the second half. The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference player of the year scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Mann scored 19 in the second half to lead the comeback.

"We just came together at halftime, said what we had to say to each other, what we had to do and losing was not an option," Mann said.

Mann led the second-half charge for the Tigers after a Gabrielle Gibson gave Assumption its biggest lead, 41-27. Holy Family roared back to take its first lead of the second half, 49-48, on a baseline jumper by Mann

Another Mann hoop increased the Tiger's lead to 55-50 with 6:23 left.

Assumption answered with an 8-0 run, capped by a Howard 3-pointer to give the Hounds a 58-56 lead with 3:24 remaining.

Holy Name responded with a 6-2 run, but Assumption's Sabrina Siciliano (10 points, 9 rebounds) hit a basket to tie it, 62-62. Mann once again had the answer, hitting a layup to give the Tigers the lead back, 64-62.

Siciliano and Gabrielle Gibson (12 points) missed shots and Holy Family made four foul shots to finish off Assumption.

"It came down to the last couple of possessions of the game," Phayre said. "In the first half we had the offense going and played great defense and in the second half they picked up their defense and we had trouble scoring."

The Hounds had a tough time controlling the Tigers speedy point guard Anna Cruz (19 points). The senior scored 13 first half points, including a top-of-the-key 3 to give Holy Family an early 11-5 lead.

Assumption was shooting poorly and plagued by turnovers. But the Hounds regrouped by dominating the glass and turning up the defense on Cruz and Mann.

Assumption contested Mann's inside low post game and boxed her out on the glass.

The Greyhounds out-rebounded the Tigers, 22-15, in the first half and forced 12 Holy Family turnovers.

It also helped that Assumption was knocking down 3-pointers (4 of 8), including two from Howard.

A Siciliano stick-back gave Assumption a 39-27 lead at the break.

Kelly Conley chipped in with 11 points off the bench for the Greyhounds.

However, for the second time in less than a week, Assumption leaves the Dana Center court with a crushing loss and a missed opportunity for a rematch against Bentley.

"We never even got there (Bentley rematch)," Phayre said. "Our only thought was this game tonight. The disappointment is that we didn't get it done on the one opportunity that we had."

Contact Henry Schwan at sports@telegram.com.
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 16, 2013
Words:623
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