March 18, 2016
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Thirteen seed Army West Point outscored fourth seed Syracuse 42-34 in the second half but were unable to complete the comeback attempt and fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 73-56, at the Carrier Dome on Friday afternoon.
With the loss, the Black Knights finish the 2015-16 season with a 29-3 record and 17-1 Patriot League record – the most wins in a season and in League play in program history. They claimed a share of the regular-season title with Bucknell and won the program’s third tournament title with a 69-51 victory over Loyola Maryland – earning a program-record 19 games straight. In addition, the senior class collected a total of 99 career wins for a program record.
Army’s 56 points scored were the most in an NCAA Tournament game in program history, having scored 52 against Maryland in 2014 and 54 against Tennessee in 2006.
The Orange opened the first quarter with an 11-2 run and ended the period with a 23-4 lead, only to extend it to 39-14 at the break. The Black Knights’ four points in the first quarter and 14 in the first half both marked season lows for the team this season.
Sophomore Janae McNeal converted a layup that started an Army 10-4 run in the third quarter, which was capped off by back-to-back treys from seniors Jean Parker and Kelsey Minato.
Trailing by 24 at the start of the fourth quarter, McNeal finished off the Black Knights’ 12-2 run halfway through the final frame to cut the lead to 12, 66-54, with 1:36 on the clock. However, Syracuse scored seven consecutive points before a pair of good free throws at the charity stripe from Minato resulted in the final score.
McNeal led the way for Army with 14 points and seven rebounds. Minato’s two free throws at the end of the game were her ninth and 10th of the day, bringing her double-digit scoring teak to an end at 112. She also grabbed a team high eight rebounds. The senior finishes her career with 2,556 points. Parker also finished the day with 10 points, netting three of the team’s triples of the game.