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Bookstore Basketball XXXV: Anthony Travel beats Powerhouse for women’s title

Tim Dougherty | Monday, May 1, 2006

Anthony Travel used its years of professional experience to send five more happy customers packing Sunday as the top seed defeated No. 3 Powerhouse 21-17 to capture the Women’s Bookstore Basketball Championship.

Despite being cold for most of the day, Maja Hansen rose to the challenge at the end of the game to sink her first point – and Anthony Travel’s final shot – to cap a second half in which the favorites were able to use their superior size and experience against Powerhouse.

Anthony Travel captain Jill Bodensteiner credited center Angie Potthoff and guard Sarah Leibshcer – who combined for 13 points – with the win.

Potthoff, the former Big Ten scoring champion at Penn State and WNBA forward with the Minnesota Lynx, gave Anthony Travel an inside force the Powerhouse could not counter. She dominated the offensive and defensive glass, denying Powerhouse shots in the key. Her game-high 11 points propelled her to her first tournament championship since she guided the Columbus Quest to the title of the now-defunct American Basketball League in 1998.

Unlike student-led Powerhouse, all of Anthony Travel’s team members are University employees, with jobs ranging from assistant tennis coach to assistant basketball coach (Potthoff) to Ticket Office workers who guarantee those coaches’ crowds. More important to the team than professional experience, according to Bodensteiner, was Anthony Travel’s basketball know-how, as all of its members have at one time played on the college hardwood.

“When it comes down to it, we have five players who’ve been coached at the collegiate level and that gives us an advantage,” Bodensteiner said.

While Potthoff was the team’s hardcourt star, Bodensteiner was the true Bookstore veteran for Anthony Travel. Sunday marks the third consecutive year Bodensteiner has taken home the title.

But the victory was not without an early scare.

After a 3-3 tie, Powerhouse went on a 4-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game thanks to the hot shooting of junior Lauren Hesano, who had a team-high four first-half points. Anthony Travel finally inched back to tie it at 10-10 before Bodensteiner put in one of her three points to take the lead at halftime.

With the rain and winds swirling down on the players, Powerhouse had trouble finding the basket in the second half as it relied on their outside shooting. Meanwhile, Anthony Travel kept feeding Potthoff and stretched its lead to the biggest of the game at 16-11 and then 19-14.

Powerhouse stayed in the game using its youthful exuberance to chase down loose balls – to the pavement if necessary. The swarming defense of Hesano and point guard Annie Parret forced turnovers to keep them in the game. Parret, who Hesano described as “a baller,” carried the team in the second half with four points.

“That was probably the best team we’ve played against in five years in terms of the team’s intensity,” Bodensteiner said.

Powerhouse center Tess Murray fought hard for position underneath the basket on offense and defense, but did not see many second-half touches.

“She was hurt [earlier in the tournament], but she played really well down low,” Hesano said.

Hesano, herself managed to draw a couple of fouls on drives to the lane, but in the end, they were not able to create enough shots in the paint against a bigger front-court, and the constant rain made it increasingly harder to handle the ball and burry jumpers.

“Everybody’s shots were short,” Hesano said. “But there’s nothing we could do about it. It was fun though, that was most important.”

Powerhouse’s loud and loyal fans – who, judging by auditory allegiance, were all but two in attendance – rewarded their efforts by forming a Bookstore-staple, the tunnel of hands, while they cheered their appreciation for the players who ran through.

Meanwhile, as Anthony Travel’s two loyal supporters looked on, the team was rewarded with what they entered the tournament for – the championship.