ANNVILLE, Pa. —#17/#15 Lebanon Valley College women's basketball recorded a 51-33 win over Messiah in the Commonwealth Conference title game Saturday afternoon to claim the program's first ever conference championship. With the win, the Dutchmen earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Andrea Hoover was named tournament MVP after leading the team with 15 points and six assists in the victory over Messiah. In the tournament, she averaged 12.5 points and five rebounds, along with posting 16 assists.
Lebanon Valley (25-2) will learn its NCAA opponent and other information on Monday, Feb. 28 when the selection show airs live on NCAA.com beginning at 3 p.m.
Tierney Hiltz was perfect from the floor against the Falcons, going 6-for-6 from field goal range, along with making the only 3-pointer she shot and free throw she was awarded. Liz Borgia was the team's third double digit scorer, posting 11 points.
Leading the rebounding effort, Suzie Noyes grabbed seven boards and Borgia added six. Both Hiltz and Caitlin Murphy notched two steals.
Messiah (19-7) started the game with a layup from Michele Schleich and held the lead through the half way mark of the first. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Borgia and Hiltz with eight minutes remaining gave Lebanon Valley a three point lead.
Schleich scored Messiah's final basket of the second half at 7:31, while the Dutchmen scored 10 points in the final seven minutes for the 26-15 lead at the half.
Lebanon Valley continued to dominate in the second half and held Messiah to 18 points. Maintaining a double digit lead from the 17:17 mark of the second, the Dutchmen scored 25 points for the 51-33 victory.
A layup from Hiltz at 12:37 of the second put LVC up by 18 points, and the closest Messiah came was 14 points with three minutes remaining in the contest. Murphy ended the game with a jumper to give LVC the title.
The Dutchmen shot 45.5% from the floor and held Messiah to 28.9% for the game.
Playing in the conference finals for the fifth time, the Dutchmen secured the program's first title. LVC will make its second-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, having received the program's first bid to the tournament last season.