York s Brittany Hicks, right, looks to shoot as F&M s Colleen Bott defends.
York s Brittany Hicks, right, looks to shoot as F&M s Colleen Bott defends. (John A. Pavoncello photo)

For a stretch of nearly eight minutes in the first half Tuesday night, it appeared as though a familiar problem returned for the York College women's basketball team.

After building a double-digit lead in the first 8 minutes, 22 seconds, the Spartans went 0-for-12 from the floor and committed four turnovers during the next 7:53 to let Franklin & Marshall pull within three points. It was reminiscent of York's previous game on Saturday, when the Spartans beat St. Mary's despite committing 26 turnovers.

But in what seemed like an instant, all of York's struggles disappeared following a quick timeout. Forward Brittany Hicks knocked down a jumper and teammate Kelsey Murphy followed with a 3-pointer before Hicks added a triple of her own. Guard Loreta Tonuzi then came off the bench to knock down a trey as time expired in the first half.

The Spartans went to the locker room with a double-digit lead and never looked back, eventually beating F&M, 67-41, at the Charles Wolf Gymnasium inside the Grumbacher Center.

"We have spates where we don't play as well as we could but we can bounce back from it," Hicks said. "Even though we're having a struggle for four minutes or whatever it doesn't affect our play because we can easily turn our play around on one possession."

Hicks, a York Catholic High School graduate, posted a season-high 24 points to go along with nine rebounds. Murphy, meanwhile, went 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the first half, when she scored 12 of her season-high 14 points.

York, which moved up one spot this week in the latest d3hoops.com poll to No. 14 and three spots to No. 12 in the latest USA Today NCAA Division III poll, improved to 7-0.

Although the Spartans shot a season-low 28.3 percent from the floor (17-of-60), Coach Betsy Witman was pleased in another area.

"To have only eight turnovers against this team is really great after coming off a game where we had 20-plus turnovers," Witman said.

She also gave credit to her players for picking up their play on a night when forward Kristen Haley went just 1-for-14 from the floor to finish with six points. Haley entered the night averaging 13.5 points a game.

"It doesn't take much to get them to just pull together," Witman said. "I thought they really did that in the first half. And then at halftime I thought we really made some adjustments. It's the most competitive team I've ever coached."

York held F&M to 28.6 percent shooting (16-of-56) and forced 22 turnovers to hand the Diplomats (3-4 overall) their fourth straight loss. Alexa Barbush, a preseason All-America selection by d3hoops.com, had a team-high 13 points for F&M.

Next game: The Spartans will next travel to Wesley (2-5) on Saturday before taking a three-week break from action until their Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in York on Dec. 28.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.