Spartans can close on top-three spots with win
With a solid hold on fourth place in the University Athletic Association, the Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team will look to play for a good cause this Friday night as New York University comes to town. Tip off will take place at 6 p.m. as the Spartans meet the Violets in a Play4Kay game.
As part of Play4Kay night, all proceeds will go to benefit the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association charity of choice, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The Spartans will wear signature pink uniforms that were made possible by the generosity of CWRU’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
The Spartans are currently in fourth place in the UAA with a conference record of 5-4, two games out of either two-way ties for second or fifth place. Fortunately for the Spartans, they’ve got two of the UAA’s bottom dwellers this weekend as they take on 1-8 New York University and 2-7 Brandeis University on Sunday.
These two games will prove crucial as the season wraps up. Two wins will clinch at least a fourth place finish and set the Spartans up for a pair of important matchups next week as they take on the current first and second place teams, No. 20 Emory University and University of Rochester. If the Spartans win either of those games next week, they’ll have a strong shot for a top-three finish in the UAA.
The Spartans have already clinched their fifth winning season in six years.
NYU limps into the matchup on a six-game losing streak. The Violets had a loss in overtime last Friday against Rochester, but have had an average margin of loss of 14.5 points during the streak. New York leads the all-time series 32-7, but Case has won the past five matchups.
The two teams have already met once this season with the Spartans cruising to a comfortable 57-42 win in New York. Evy Iacono had her first career double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Brooke Orcutt had a career-high 14 points.
The Spartans will be led by seniors Iacono and Erica Iafelice, who are at the top of the UAA in scoring and assists, respectively. Iacono is the UAA’s top scorer with 17.4 points per game. She’s third in school history for all-time scoring and is currently on pace for the second highest scoring season in school history. Iacono has been named a four-time UAA Athlete of the Week and was just named to the Academic All-District VII First Team. Iafelice has been key in the Spartans recent success. Second in the UAA and 19th in the nation with 5.3 assists per game, Iafelice is the catalyst for the team’s attack. Iafelice is currently third in program history in career assists with 349 and is just 15 behind assists leader Jeanne Scott. She’s also currently on pace to finish 2.5 assists behind second place Keesha Allen for most assists in a single season.
Senior Emily Mueller has also had a stellar season for the Spartans defensively. Mueller is currently first in the UAA in blocks and 37th in all of Division III with 2.3 blocks per game.
The Spartans will hit the road next week to take on top seed, No. 20 Emory (18-2, 8-1) on Friday night, Feb. 15, and then fly to Rochester to play the second place Yellowjackets (15-5, 7-2) on Sunday, Feb. 17.