Saint Joseph’s women lose 60-54 to Vandy in NCAAs

The Saint Joseph’s players proved to themselves they belonged in

the NCAA tournament in the school’s first appearance in 13 years,

even if the trip lasted just one round.

The Hawks fought back from a 10-point second-half deficit before

falling to Vanderbilt 60-54 on Saturday.

”I thought we battled on every possession, being down and

coming back,” coach Cindy Griffin said. ”We were right there at

the end, and the shots just didn’t fall today. There are days like

that.”

Chatilla van Grinsven scored 14 points, all in the second half,

for ninth-seeded Saint Joseph’s (23-9). Natasha Cloud and Ilze

Gotfrida each chipped in 10.

Tiffany Clarke had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead the

eighth-seeded Commodores (21-11), while Jasmine Lister added 14

points.

Vanderbilt led most of the way and was up 40-30 after Lister’s

3-pointer with 15:54 to play.

But Saint Joseph’s would not go away, tying it at 48 on a layup

by Van Grinsven with 6:48 to go. She had six points in the 8-0 run

that closed the gap.

”I tried to give it everything I had my senior year, my last

game,” Van Grinsven said.

Heather Bowe’s driving layup gave the Commodores the lead back,

and Vanderbilt held it down the stretch.

Van Grinsven cut the deficit back to two twice after offensive

rebounds. But Lister’s driving layup with 40 seconds left made it

58-54, and Van Grinsven fouled out with 28 seconds remaining.

Van Grinsven came in averaging 15 points and 10.5 rebounds but

picked up two fouls less than 3 minutes into the game. She sat on

the bench for the rest of the first half.

Gotfrida made up for her absence, coming off the bench to score

eight of the Hawks’ first 15 points.

The teams were tied at 25 before Vanderbilt went on an 8-2 run

to close the half.

”We were confident that we could come back,” Cloud said. ”We

had to chip away at it. We tied it up, but we couldn’t get over the

hump.”

The Commodores outrebounded St. Joe’s 47-32, a key because

neither team shot well. Vanderbilt was just 22 of 59 from the floor

but held the Hawks to 19 baskets in 55 attempts.

”It was ugly, but the first round, first game, usually is,”

Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb said. ”In the end we made some

clutch baskets down the stretch.”

Saint Joseph’s was making its 12th NCAA tournament appearance,

but its first since 2000. The Hawks beat top-seeded Dayton in the

Atlantic 10 semifinals and won the championship game by a point

over Fordham.

The game was the 127th in the career of Saint Joseph’s guard

Ashley Prim, tying Michelle Baker’s school record.