POUGHKEEPSIE – Sierra McDermed matched her season-high with 26 points and Tova Gelb contributed 16 points as the #RV/24 Vassar College Women’s Basketball team fought its way to a 60-53 Liberty League victory over Union Saturday afternoon. The victory is the 19th straight for the Brewers and earns the program its first 20-win season since 2018-19.
Saturday’s win improves Vassar to 20-1 overall on the season and an unblemished 14-0 in conference play, while Union dips to 7-14 overall and 6-8 in Liberty League competition.
Vassar got off to a sluggish start, going just 3-for-19 from the field over the opening 10 minutes.
Union held a lead as large as five points, at 13-8, following a Sophia Poplyk jumper with 2:27 left in the half.
McDermed closed out the first quarter scoring with a layup with 19 seconds left to pull the Brewers to within 13-10 heading into the second frame.
Grace Ardito opened the second quarter with a triple for the Garnet Chargers to push the visitor’s lead to 16-10.
Vassar would rip off the next six points, including four from Bella Tawney, to knot the score at 16-16.
Union answered with the next five points to regain a 21-16 lead before five straight points from McDermed evened things against at 21-21.
Emma Riley gave the visitors back a 23-21 lead at the 2:29 mark of the frame, but the Garnet Chargers would go without a point the remainder of the half.
Vassar tallied the final three points of the half, capped by a McDermed bucket, to carry a 24-23 lead into the half.
Vassar improved to 33.3-percent shooting in the second frame, but finished the half converting at just 24.3-percent, including a 2-for-13 effort from behind the arc.
Union shot 38.5-percent over the first 20 minutes and went 3-for-7 from three-point range.
Coming out of halftime, Vassar used a quick 5-0 spurt to grab a 29-23 lead on a pair of Gelb free-throws.
A 7-0 run, capped by a McDermed three-pointer, pushed the Vassar lead to double-figures for the first time at 36-25 with 4:03 left in the third period.
The Brewers moved in front by a game-high 15 points, at 41-26, following a McDermed three-pointer at the 2:32 mark of the third quarter.
Vassar would keep Union trailing by at least 11 points the rest of the frame and carried a 44-33 lead into the final stanza.
Union scored the first four points of the final period, moving to within 44-27 on a Grace Arcoleo three-pointer 42 seconds into the period.
Vassar spread its lead back to double-figures when Gelb converted a pair of free-throws to make the score 49-39, but would not push the advantage past 10 the rest of the way.
Union sliced its disadvantage to just 55-51 on a Kennedy Clark triple in the final minute, but would not climb any closer.
Vassar would close out the game knocking in five of its final six free-throw attempts to finish the day with the final seven-point lead.
Vassar shot 31.3-percent overall after halftime and connected on three triples.
Union went 3-for-13 from the floor in the third period and finished the half shooting 37.9-percent overall and 4-for-12 from three-point range.
Vassar outscored Union 13-4 from the charity stripe in the second half.
For The Brewers
McDermed scored 26 points in a game for the second time this season and finished Saturday’s tilt 9-for-19 from the floor with a trio of treys. McDermed finished off a big day with a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with a pair of steals.
Gelb totaled 16 points and hauled in a game and career-high 18 rebounds.
Tawney rounded out the win with six points and four boards.
Naiya Kurnik posted six points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists.
Caroline Siekman came off the bench to produce five points and eight rebounds.
For The Garnet Chargers
Clark led the team with 12 points on the strength of 3-for-5 shooting from behind the arc.
Perovic totaled 10 points and six rebounds.
Arcoleo led the team with seven boards and finished with nine points while leading the team with three assists.
Vassar looks for its 20th straight victory on February 9 when it hosts RIT.