Bridgeport, Conn. — The final women's basketball Battle of the Boulevard will have an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
Third-seeded NYIT defeated second-seeded Daemen, 65-44, on Saturday at the University of Bridgeport's Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium to advance to its third straight East Coast Conference finals.
The Bears (22-8) will face No. 4 LIU Post, an upset winner against No. 1 St. Thomas Aquinas, on Sunday at noon in Bridgeport for the ECC's automatic NCAA berth.
NYIT's semifinal victory against Daemen may have been enough to impress the NCAA Selection Committee anyway, although the Bears ought to leave nothing to chance. Daemen entered the weekend No. 9 in the East Region rankings. NYIT was No. 10.
The teams had split the regular-season meetings.
With NYIT clinging to a 44-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter on Saturday, Tiara Place produced a steal and Julia Braungart finished the play with a layup to fuel what became an 18-0 run.
NYIT maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way.
In fact, the Bears held Daemen scoreless for more than seven minutes, until a three-pointer by the Wildcats with 39 seconds remaining.
Shalie Frierson finished with a team-high 15 points, followed by Place with 11 and Taylor Tripptree with 10.
As for the matchup with LIU Post, the Bears split a pair of earlier meetings, winning 70-45 in Brookville on Jan. 16 and losing at the buzzer in the regular-season finale, 61-59 at Recreation Hall on Feb. 27.
Provided by the NYIT Sports Information Department.