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Injury helps Anthony Travel win

Pat Leonard | Monday, April 26, 2004

The halftime score was 11-10, but most of the preceding play had been five-on-five. In the second half, playing without an injured Christina Esposito, In It to Win It could not defeat the team that knocked them out of last year’s Bookstore Basketball tournament.Anthony Travel dominated the second half Sunday, outscoring its opponent 10-2 and winning the women’s championship, 21-12.”We found holes better with the person down,” said Jill Bodensteiner, of Anthony Travel. “I don’t think we were playing well in the first half, but in the second we were able to get a couple easy buckets on the fast break for our point guard, Suzanne [Bellina].”Esposito went down with a sprained ankle late in the first half. Her ankle – and her team of girls from Pasquerilla West – never recovered. Despite the shooting of Alyssa Howell, the hustle of Heather Van Hoegarden and the play of Maureen Sprung and Sara Ryan, In It to Win It could not overcome the loss of a player inside.”They played incredible,” Bodensteiner said. “They had great effort and intensity, and [Van Hoegarden] is an incredible athlete.”Anthony Travel lost in the finals last year and some thought they should have been the No. 2 in this year’s tournament. A committee oversight, however, placed them out of the seeding and in the path of tougher opponents throughout the tournament.”We had to play the second seed in the round of eight this year,” Bodensteiner said.Their team won that game, 21-11, the smallest margin of victory Anthony Travel forced even up until its championship victory.Anthony Travel was composed of a collection of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame employees and coaches.Sara Liebscher, in fact, played on the Notre Dame women’s varsity team from 1987-91. Bellina and Amanda Hall are the head and assistant coaches, respectively, of the Saint Mary’s basketball team.Christy Yarnell and Bodensteiner make up the remainder of the championship roster. Bodensteiner graduated from Notre Dame and lived in Pasquerilla West during her undergraduate years. The bittersweet irony of her victory Sunday against an alma mater, though, did all but disappoint Bodensteiner – a lawyer for Notre Dame and an assistant coach of the Saint Mary’s team, also.”Nothing makes me happier than to see PW play that hard and get this far,” she said.