McAuley advances to GCAC Red finals with upset of Trinity

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A rematch against Trinity just 11 days after a loss turned into a winning scenario for Mother McAuley.

The Macs scored 20 points in the first quarter and trailed only after Trinity’s Lauren Prochaska scored the first points of the game to register a 56-48 upset Wednesday in the GCAC Red semifinals at McAuley.

Junior guard Molly O’Malley scored a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior guard Elizabeth Nye added 11 points for McAuley.

“We knew we had to work harder on defense,” O’Malley said. “They are a great team.”

McAuley (17-8) returns to the conference championship for the second consecutive year after losing to Trinity in last year’s final. The Macs will look to capture their first GCAC Red tournament title since 2000, against either Loyola or St. Ignatius, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at home.

Trinity (19-5) won the first meeting of the season at McAuley, 50-39, behind Prochaska’s 16 points. The DePaul-bound Prochaska, who was named the conference player of the year, scored 15 points in the rematch, but was limited to two baskets in the second half.

Junior guard Patricia Stritzel led the Blazers with 17 points, while sophomore Annie McKenna added 10 before fouling out with 55 seconds remaining.

Trinity, which trailed 20-7 after the first quarter, rallied to within 46-43 with 4:20 to go on McKenna’s layup. But the Macs scored six consecutive points, capped by Raven Willis’ rebound and layup off a missed free throw by teammate Jasma Williams.

“We came out without life,” Trinity coach Eddie Stritzel said. “I told the girls, ‘It’s hard to beat a team on other people’s court.’ “

Trinity, the two-time defending champion, will play for third place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at McAuley for the first time since 2005.

“All five kids made plays for us. That’s what they needed most,” McAuley coach Ashley Luke Clanton said. “They rely on Elizabeth a lot to make plays, but fortunately the others [showed they] can make plays too.”

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