Saturday women: In peak condition

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Sidney Tomasso and St. John Fisher is now alone in front of the pack in the Empire 8 conference standings.
File photo by Hanife Gundogdu

St. John Fisher grabbed first place in his conference with a win over Nazareth in the Battle of the Beaks. Elsewhere, Washington and Jefferson made the most of their second chance against Chatham, and No. 8 Illinois Wesleyan bounced back with a road win at No. 25 Carroll.

St. John Fisher pulled away from crosstown rival Nazareth, 69-62, to grab sole possession of first place in the Empire 8. Game story

After a back-and-forth first half, Nazareth pulled in front of St. John Fisher, 42-38, fourteen straight points by sophomore forward Molly Benetti. The Cardinals responded with a 7-0 run capped by Hannah Ferguson’s three-pointer that gave St. John Fisher leads 47-42.

The Golden Flyers battled back within two on Benetti’s layup in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, only to see the Cardinals score the next six points and take a 55-47 lead. St. John Fisher went nine for 10 from the foul line in the final two minutes to secure the win.

Sidney Tomasso scored 25 points and went 10-for-10 from the foul line for St. John Fisher (15-2, 8-0 E8), which now has a 1.5 game lead over Nazareth and Houghton. Benetti had 21 points in just 23 minutes before fouling out for Nazareth (14-2, 6-1 E8).

Washington and Jefferson saw last season end with a loss to Chatham in the PAC tournament and then picked up its first loss of this season to the Cougars back in November. But the Presidents ended any chance of a third straight loss to Chatham early, jumping on the Cougars 51-18 at the half on their way to an 84-61 win.

Washington and Jefferson (15-2, 11-1 PAC) outrebounded the Cougars, 58-28, and shot 54 percent from the field.

The two ranked teams that lost to conference title contenders on Wednesday rebounded with road wins Saturday afternoon.

No. 8 Illinois Wesleyan held off Carroll, 72-68, and regained first place in the CCIW standings. Lauren Huber’s layup staked the Titans to a 71-64 lead and IWU made that advantage last through the game’s final two minutes. Carroll got within three on Olivia Rangel’s free throw with 16 seconds left, but IWU ran the clock down to four seconds, got fouled and hit one of two to ice the game.

No. 18 Washington and Lee bounced back from its loss to Shenandoah and won at Randolph-Macon, 61-52, pushing the Yellow Jackets one game back in the ODAC race. Quinn McGuinness, Mary Schleusner and Hanna Malik each scored 11 points for the Generals (16-2, 10-1 ODAC), and Schleusner added 23 rebounds.

Christiane Carlisle hit a three-pointer with 35 seconds left in overtime to lift No. 24 Whitman over Puget Sound, 64-61. Carlisle racked up 19 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes for Whitman (13-3, 5-2 NWC). Pacific remains in front of both teams in the NWC standings with a 79-55 win over Lewis and Clark.

The five unbeaten teams in action on Saturday all stayed that way with relative ease.

No. 4 UW-Whitewater kept rolling through the WIAC with a 69-52 home win over UW-River Falls. Webster topped NCAA provisional member Lyon, 100-87, upping its record to 17-0. No. 2 Transylvania, No. 3 Rhode Island College and No. 9 Catholics each won by at least 40 points.

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