#6 Mount Union Survives and Advances With 73-63 Win Over LaRoche (Pa.) in NCAA Tournament

Rosa LaMattina (Photo by Tom Cammett)
Rosa LaMattina (Photo by Tom Cammett)

ALLIANCE, Ohio — Junior Rosa LaMattina (Westlake/Westlake) scored 16 points, including five in an eight-second stretch, to lead the No. 6-ranked Mount Union women's basketball team to a 73-63 victory over La Roche (Pa.) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday night.

The Purple Raiders (27-1) saw a double-digit lead in the second half trimmed to three, 65-62, with just over two minutes remaining. LaMattina scored on a driving layup with 2:09 to go, then stole the inbounds pass and hit a 12-foot jump shot to put Mount Union comfortably ahead, 69-62, with 2:01 left.

"She's unbelievable," said Mount Union coach Suzy Venet of LaMattina, who also had seven assists. "She has an incredible will to win."

La Roche (22-6), champion of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, fell behind 13-2 at the start of the game, but rallied to lead by as many as five points, 23-18, before the Purple Raiders closed the first half with a 12-2 run to lead 30-25 at the intermission.

Mount Union led several times by 10 or more points in the second period, but the Redhawks always had an answer. They did so behind Ariel Green and Jessica Pitts, who scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, and a full-court defense that forced the Purple Raiders into 15 turnovers for the game.

"They're a quick team, we knew that," said Venet. "It was going to come down to who took care of the ball."

Despite the pressure, Mount Union shot 55.6 percent from the field in the second half (15 of 27).

"Survive and move on," said Venet. "That's the name of the game. We came out in the second half with a little momentum and were ready to go. We executed much better offensively."

Senior Kori Wiedt (North Olmsted/North Olmsted) led the Purple Raiders with 20 points, including a jumper that beat the first-half buzzer to give Mount Union the halftime momentum.

Junior Tierney Allen (Alliance) added 12. Senior Amanda Rose (Uniontown/Green) finished with nine points and eight rebounds for Mount Union, which advances to play Muhlenberg (Pa.) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the second round.

Newspaper Box Score

La Roche (Pa.) vs Mount Union

03/02/12 7 pm at The MAAC - Alliance, Ohio

MOUNT UNION 73, LA ROCHE (PA.) 63

LA ROCHE (PA.) (22-6)

Green Ariel 7-9 0-0 17; Pitts Jessica 8-16 0-0 16; Stewart Chloe' 4-11 1-211; Garland Amanda 3-8 2-2 8; McPhatter Ja'Nia 2-6 0-0 4; Cygan Casie 1-70-0 3; Brothers LaShauna 1-4 0-0 3; Blackwell Dierca 0-2 1-3 1. Totals 26-634-7 63.

MOUNT UNION (27-1)

Kori Wiedt 8-15 2-2 20; Rosa LaMattina 6-13 2-2 16; Tierney Allen 4-5 4-412; Amanda Rose 3-6 3-6 9; Aly Daniel 4-4 1-1 9; Marybeth Leitch 0-2 4-4 4;Erin Schmidt 1-8 1-5 3; Amanda Tamerlano 0-1 0-0 0; Bridget Lyons 0-1 0-0 0;Kensie Kimble 0-1 0-0 0; Olivia Holt 0-1 0-0 0; Kelly Evans 0-0 0-0 0;Maggie Miller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 17-24 73.

La Roche (Pa.)................   25   38  -   63

Mount Union...................   30   43  -   73

3-point goals--La Roche (Pa.) 7-18 (Green Ariel 3-4; Stewart Chloe' 2-5;Brothers LaShauna 1-1; Cygan Casie 1-6; McPhatter Ja'Nia 0-1; Garland Amanda0-1), Mount Union 4-16 (Kori Wiedt 2-6; Rosa LaMattina 2-6; Erin Schmidt0-2; Olivia Holt 0-1; Maggie Miller 0-1). Fouled out--La Roche (Pa.)-GarlandAmanda, Mount Union-None. Rebounds--La Roche (Pa.) 38 (Pitts Jessica 8;Stewart Chloe' 8), Mount Union 38 (Amanda Rose 8). Assists--La Roche (Pa.)15 (Stewart Chloe' 5), Mount Union 19 (Rosa LaMattina 7). Total fouls--LaRoche (Pa.) 17, Mount Union 14. Technical fouls--La Roche (Pa.)-None, MountUnion-None. A-595

2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament first round game; Mount Union advancesto second round Saturday at 7 pm.