By Bridget Carney, Assistant Sports Editor
The St. John Fisher women’s basketball team began their weekend road trip in Hoboken, NJ by falling to Stevens Institute of Technology 75-41. Despite the loss, Fisher was able to clinch a spot in the Empire 8 Tournament after Nazareth’s loss to Hartwick College.
Fisher took the lead for the majority of the first quarter thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Maria Kelleher, until Stevens went on a quick 5-0 run to tie the contest. After a basket by Erin Hulburt, the Cardinals would be stopped for a full five minutes, allowing Stevens to go on an 18-0 run.
The Cardinals made several attempts to regain the momentum, but were unable to as Stevens continued to apply the pressure both offensively and defensively. Fisher has struggled at Stevens historically, losing in Hoboken for the fifth consecutive year. Stevens went on to clinch a second seed in the conference tournament with the win.
Kelleher led the Cardinals with 12 points while fellow senior Emily Piacentini finish with five of her own, and freshmen Liga Kalnina and Meghan Lescinskas contributed four of their own.
Fisher closed out their season at Hartwick College with a 79-68 loss.
The Cardinals kept it close in the opening period, only trailing by one as they headed into the second quarter. The contest remained close, and even tied, until Hartwick went on an 8-0 run which gave the Hawks a 40-33 advantage at halftime.
Hartwick opened up the second half with a pair of back-to-back threes which contributed to an 18-2 run, opening up a 21-point lead.
While Fisher outscored the Hawks in the final quarter, the deficit was too great for the Cardinals to overcome.
Emily Piacentini led Fisher with 15 points while Kelleher contributed 12 of her own. Nicole Robinson added 10 as well. The Hawks will head into the tournament with a three seed. The Cardinals finish the regular season with a record of 12-13 overall and 9-7 in conference play.
Fisher travels back to Hoboken as the heavy underdog for the semi-final contest on Friday night at 7 p.m. The game can be live streamed on St. John Fisher’s athletic website. Hartwick will face Nazareth in the other semi-final at 9 p.m.