SCHENECTADY – To the victors go the spoils, and following a 74-58 victory over Union College on Saturday afternoon at the Viniar Athletic Center, the Vassar College women’s basketball team has won the Liberty League regular season title and secured the No. 1 seed in the League Championships.
The victory completed a historic regular season for the Brewers, who finished a school record-best 21-4 overall and 12-3 in the Liberty League. The Brewers will begin defense of their back-to-back league titles against No. 4 seed William Smith, a team the Brewers split with during the regular season.
The Brewers got a 23-point performance from junior guard Cydni Matsuoka, who scored 16 of those points in the second half. She single-handedly stymied a Union comeback by scoring six straight points in 1:08 of play. Vassar held a 49-45 lead at the 9:19 mark of the second half and with 7:40 to play Matsuoka’s three straight jumpers pushed Vassar ahead 55-45, a lead the Brewers built on methodically to earn the 14-point victory.
The closet Union (14-10, 9-7) came in the second half was 45-41.
The Brewers took a 10-8 lead at the 15:33 mark following a layup by freshman guard Caitlin Drakeley, and never trailed again. Vassar held a 22-13 lead following a layup by sophomore guard Nyah Berg, built breathing room over the final ten minutes of the half, getting a couple of free throws from Matsuoka and consecutive jumpers from senior Natalie Allen in the final two minutes to lead 34-26 at halftime.
Union nipped away at that eight point deficit, drawing to 41-37 following a 3-pointer from Shayla Madden, but back-to-back jumpers from sophomore forward Colleen O’Connell earned Vassar a 45-37 advantage.
Two free throws by Union’s junior forward Brittney Kenney chipped the Vassar lead to 49-45 with 9:19 to play, but Matsuoka connected on three straight jumpers in a 1:08 time span to derail the Dutchwomen comeback.
Over the final 5:47 of the game, Vassar went on a 15-9 run, highlighted by a 3-pointers from junior guard Hannah Senftleber and Matsuoka.
Four Vassar players scored in double figures, led by Matsuoka (23 points, 11 assists), Berg (14 points), Senftleber and O’Connell (11). Senftleber grabbed a team-best 11 rebounds.