Johns Hopkins sophomore forward Julie Anderson played just 23 minutes, but she made the most of them.
After spending much of the second half on the bench with four fouls, Anderson returned to score eight of her game-high 17 points in the final four minutes to help the host Blue Jays finish off Alvernia College, 70-58, in an NCAA Division III first-round game last night.
Hopkins (20-7) will play at Scranton in a second-round game Saturday night at 7:30.
The game pitted Hopkins' inside strength against Alvernia's speed and perimeter game.
Led by the 5-foot-10 Anderson (15 rebounds) and six-foot senior center Lori Leonard (16 points, 17 rebounds), the Blue Jays proved to be more than the Crusaders could handle.
Hopkins out-rebounded Alvernia, 53-31, including a 25-14 edge on the offensive end.
With Anderson on the bench for long stretches, however, the Blue Jays had to adjust.
"Having Julie on the bench with four fouls definitely changed our style of play," Hopkins coach Nancy Blank said. "We count on Julie for offensive rebounds and put-backs and we didn't get a lot of that in the second half. You can't lose your leading scorer for that long without it affecting play."
Hopkins tried to run more in the second half, but it was inconsistent in stretches. The Blue Jays, who lost to eventual national champion Capital College in the round of 16 last season, never trailed, but the pesky Crusaders (22-6) refused to go quietly.
Hopkins held Alvernia scoreless for a stretch of 13:06 to build a 44-24 lead with 15:55 remaining.
But the Crusaders began whittling away at their deficit and pulled within 63-55 on two free throws by Helene McDonald with 2:15 left.
Anderson answered with a jumper at the top of the key to stretch the lead back to 10.
After an Alvernia turnover, Angie Arnold (10 points, five assists) then made the front end of a one-and-one. Arnold missed the second free throw and Anderson grabbed the rebound and scored to extend Hopkins' advantage to 68-55 with 39 seconds left.
Anderson added two free throws with 21 seconds left to seal the victory.
"We were changing a lot of our defenses," Blank said. "We stayed with our man a lot, but we threw in a couple presses and a couple zones just to not let them get in any kind of groove."
Hopkins had raced to a 14-6 lead, with Leonard scoring eight. BTC Leonard had 13 points and 14 rebounds in the first half, as the Blue Jays took a 34-22 lead into the intermission.
* Drexel 88, Towson State 81: Freshman Kim Koschineg led all scorers with 26 points to power host Drexel (9-18, 6-12) to a North Atlantic Conference tournament win over Towson State (8-19, 5-13). The Lady Dragons also received 22 points and 14 rebounds from Jen MacNeill and 21 points from LaTasha Rice. Trinette Tucker led Towson State with 23 points. Sonia Keiner added 15.
The Tigers led 57-46, after a three-pointer from Keiner, with 15:41 remaining, but Drexel came back to tie the game at 61 with seven minutes left.
* S.C. State 81, Coppin State 64: Brendetta Robinson scored 26 as sixth-seeded South Carolina State (8-19) upset third-seeded Coppin State (14-13) in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Tallahassee, Fla. Natasha Parks led Coppin State with 13.
* Salisbury State 77, Goucher 53: Senior forward Amy Fenzel scored 16 points and Kristi Kauffman came off the bench to score 14 second-half points as Salisbury State defeated Goucher in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
Maisha Ellis added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the visiting Sea Gulls (19-8). Candi Jones (Western) led Goucher (17-10) with a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds.