Bohi, Gilbert Power Denver to Third Straight Big East Championship


Denver won the Big East title for the third straight year.

Still undefeated. Still no double-digit goals allowed. Still Big East champs.

Denver (19-0) wrapped up its third straight Big East tournament championship Sunday afternoon, in Storrs, Conn., in a defensive clinic by both teams. Landyn White made 19 saves for UConn, which couldn’t solve Denver’s Emelia Bohi (13 saves), as Denver won 11-6. Bryn McCaughey caused five turnovers for the Pios.

White and Bohi each made four first-quarter saves, and the teams played to a 1-1 tie.

Gilbert scored on a free position to give Denver its first lead of the day at 12:58 of the second quarter, but Kate Shaffer evened the score at 2 just 36 seconds later. Morgan Carter appeared to score to put UConn ahead but was handed a yellow card for a dangerous followthrough instead at 11:11. The Pios capitalized. Ryan Dineen (two goals, two assists) found Mollie Estepp cutting toward the cage, and Estepp dodged and scored for the 3-2 lead.

McPherson won the ensuing draw, and Gilbert buried a shot low at 9:19. It was déjà vu on the next sequence, with McPherson again securing the draw and Gilbert placing the shot in the same place for a 5-2 Denver lead at 8:20.

The Pios extended their cushion to 6-2 when Kayla DeRose fed Dineen in front with 2:11 left in the half, but Shaffer broke up the 4-0 run with an unassisted goal less than a minute later to cut the Huskies’ halftime deficit to 6-3.

Denver had the first shot of the second half, but White saved Ellie Curry’s close-range shot. The Huskies quickly cleared the ball, and Rayea Davis found Madelyn George on the doorstep to bring UConn within 6-4 less than two minutes into the third quarter.

White and Bohi each made point-blank saves on the ensuing possessions, but Gilbert broke through for her fourth of the day and gave Denver a 7-4 edge at the 10:33 mark. Kipp followed with a goal on an assist from Ryan at 7:50. Jenkins grabbed the draw, and Kipp assisted a Curry score 61 seconds later as the Pios’ lead ballooned to 9-4.

Kipp’s goal to open the fourth quarter capped a 4-0 run that gave Denver its largest lead of the day, 10-4, an insurmountable hill for the Huskies to climb against the Pios’ hallmark “hot pink” defense.

UConn (12-6) remains a bubble team for the NCAA tournament in tonight’s Selection Show at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU. Denver will be watching the Selection Show for a different reason — to learn of its seed.

With a weaker strength of schedule compared to the likes of Northwestern, Boston College, North Carolina and Syracuse, Denver could be seeded as low as fifth despite being the only undefeated team in Division I.


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