The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's basketball team is headed to the AMCC Championship.
The third-seeded Panthers knocked off second-seeded Penn State Behrend, 60-52, in the semifinal round of the AMCC Championships on Saturday afternoon at La Roche College.
"You can't say enough about the way these girls have battled throughout this whole season," said first-year head coach Sean Brown Sr. "They deserve the chance to play for a championship and I am excited and proud that we earned that shot with a big win today."
Pitt-Bradford will look for its second AMCC Championship in school history on Sunday at 1 p.m. at top-seeded La Roche College. The winner of the title game receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament.
Ali Rinfrette led the Panthers once again, scoring 24 points while adding eight rebounds and playing all 40 minutes. Abby Brate added 10 points, four assists and four boards. Brittany Watts was once again a force in the post, adding seven points and six boards while Karissa Cratty and Darien Lantz chipped in with seven points each in the victory.
"Ali got pushed around a bit, but she battled through it. We expect her to have great games and she just continues to lead our team to big victories," Brown said. "Abby played all 40 minutes for us as well and hit some huge shots for us down the stretch. Darien was outstanding on defense, picking up five steals and Karissa had the game of her career off of the bench."
Ali Goetz led the Lions with 11 points and four boards while Sadie Zielinski picked up 11 points off of the Behrend bench. Heidi Langhorst added eight points and seven boards off of the bench in the loss.
Pitt-Bradford has had some slow starts throughout the season, but Saturday night's semifinal was much different. The Panthers came out and outscored the Lions 17-12 in the opening quarter and then held a 15-11 advantage in the second to take a 32-23 lead at the half.
The Panthers extended their lead to as many as 19 early in the third quarter. Lantz and Rinfrette caught fire from beyond the arc and Watts added a big bucket off of an offensive board to make it a 43-27 Panther lead with 5:40 left.
The Lions battled back, cutting the Panther lead to just five at 57-52 with just 25 seconds left, but Rinfrette went 3-4 from the charity stripe to secure the 60-52 victory for the Panthers.
Sunday's title game will be the third time the Panthers meet La Roche this season. The Redhawks won the previous two regular season meetings.