Zeps powers McDaniel into ECAC championship

Karli Zeps (c) 2014 David Sinclair/McDaniel College
Karli Zeps (c) 2014 David Sinclair/McDaniel College

WASHINGTON, D.C. – McDaniel tallied eight of the final nine points in the first half to open up a 34-26 lead en route to a 77-70 victory over St. Vincent in the semifinals of the 2014 ECAC South women's basketball tournament on Saturday.

Freshman Karli Zeps (Reisterstown, Md./Seton Keough) powered the Green Terror (21-6) into its first ECAC championship game, establishing a career best with 27 points – the most by a McDaniel player since Whitney Snoops' 29 against Goucher on Jan. 25, 2011 and the most by a Green Terror freshman since Cindy Boyer scored 33 at Albright on Jan. 8, 1984.

McDaniel will take on host Catholic in Sunday's title game at 2 p.m. The Cardinals defeated Washington & Jefferson 90-71 in the day's first semifinal.

Elle Collins paced the Bearcats (19-10) with 17 points.

Trailing 13-11, Codi McMaster (Spring Grove, Pa./Spring Grove) hit a jumper to tie the game with 12:02 showing before Steph Perez (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin East) canned one of her four 3-pointers to put McDaniel in front for good 40 seconds later.

A Jessica Welch jumper and four straight points from Zeps stretched the advantage to 20-15 with 10:18 to play in the first half.

Welch closed the margin to 26-25 before a Zeps layup with 1:53 on the first-half clock sparked the 8-1 run to the break.

Back-to-back Emma Wingerd (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Hills) layups gave McDaniel a 41-31 lead with 18:22 remaining.

After Mara Benevenuti and Wingerd traded baskets, St. Vincent put together a 10-2 run to close the within 45-43 with 14:39 on the clock.

Clinging to a 56-53 lead after a Drew Meeker triple, Lindsey Nichols (Wilmington, Del./St. Mark's) hit a jumpter with 10:52 on the clock to spark an 8-0 burst.

Zeps contributed six straight points to open up an 11-point lead with 8:26 showing.

A Susie Ellis 3-pointer with 48 ticks left closed the deficit to 75-70 but that's as close as the Bearcats could get.

McMaster finished with 14 points while Perez added 12. Wingerd chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.