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Spartans host Tartans on Senior’s Day

Austin String / Observer
Senior Erica Iafelice set the school career record for assists in the Spartans’ game against Rochester. Iafelice leads the UAA in assists with 5.3 per game.

Women’s basketball looks to reach best record since 2002

The Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team will host the University Athletic Association’s fifth place Carnegie Mellon University on Seniors’ Day.

The two teams are locked into the fourth and fifth place positions in the UAA and will be playing with pride on the line. Carnegie Mellon (13-11, 5-8) upset the Spartans (15-9, 7-6) in the teams’ conference opener 82-76 in Pittsburgh on Jan. 5.

A win in the closing game of the season will match the Spartans 8-6 conference record from last year. Hitting eight wins will be the highest for the Spartans in the UAA since the 2001-02 season when the Spartans went 20-7 overall and 10-4 in the conference. The Spartans also sit at 15-9, matching last seasons total, with another win improving their record to the highest win total since the 2001-02 season.

The Spartans are coming off of a pair of heartbreaking losses, losing to No. 16 Emory University in overtime 62-61 and No. 27 University of Rochester, 72-68. The Spartans had chances to win both games late and can take solace in their ability to hang late with some of the best teams in the nation. The Spartans lost to both teams in January by 18 and 20 points, respectively.

The Tartans are also coming off a weekend against Rochester and Emory but fared much worse than the Spartans. Carnegie Mellon fell to the Yellowjackets 72-67 in Rochester and 76-55 to the Eagles in Atlanta.

The Spartans and Tartans match up extremely well on both sides of the ball. The visitors have averaged 66.9 points per game, just under three more than Case’s 64.0. The Spartans have edge out Carnegie Mellon defensively, 60.6-60.7 points per game, respectively.

The Spartans will be led on Seniors’ Day by a trio of the program’s most accomplished seniors. Senior point guard Eria Iafelice set the school career assists record in her most recent game in the loss to Rochester. Iafelice passed Jeanne Scott’s school record of 364 and now has 370 for her career. Iafelice also leads the UAA in assists per game with 5.3.

Senior Evy Iacono has been one of the key reasons the Spartans has surged late in the season. Iacono leads the UAA in scoring with 17.7 points per game. She has also run away in the competition for the scoring title. Iacono averages 17.5 points per game in conference games, 2.7 more than Washington University’s Melissa Gilkey’s 14.8. No one else is over 12 points per game.

Iafelice and Iacono are also a pair of the top defense players in the conference, ranked second and third with 2.5 and 2.4 steals per game, respectively.

Another of the Spartan seniors who is tops in the UAA is center Emily Mueller who is averaging 2.5 blocks per game. Mueller averages 7.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as well.

The Spartans final senior is forward Marissa Miles. Miles has started every game this season and is averaging 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

The biggest problem for the Spartans will be stopping the Tartans’ variety of scoring threats. Carnegie Mellon’s Emily Peel, Gabrielle West, and Liza Otto all average over 10 points per game with Jacquie Shaw and Lindsay Poss putting up over nine points per game in conference play. Those players make up over a quarter of the UAA’s top 20 scorers and will need to be contained for the Spartans to end their season on a high note.

The game will tip of on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 3:00 p.m. in the Horsburgh Gymnasium.

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