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Anh-Dao Tran leads Adelphi to first Northeast-10 women's basketball title

Adelphi University Anh-Dao Tran cuts off a ceremonial

Adelphi University Anh-Dao Tran cuts off a ceremonial piece of the net after her team's 79-57 win over AIC in the Northeast-10 women's basketball championship at Adelphi on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Credit: James Escher

Before walking to the Adelphi women's basketball team's locker room at halftime of Sunday's Northeast-10 Conference final, Anh-Dao Tran glanced at the scoreboard.

The point guard and captain noticed the Panthers trailed by one. She had zero points.

It was about time, Tran said she began to realize, to turn the game around.

She certainly did.

Tran scored all 20 of her points in the second half to lead host and top-seeded Adelphi over fourth-seeded American International, 79-57, as the Panthers captured their first Northeast-10 Conference title.

"Something just clicked inside," Tran said. "We realized it was our year."

Adelphi guard Kelly Mannix (14 points), the team's leading scorer this season, called Tran "the leader of the program."

Tran redshirted last season after transferring from New Haven.

"She helps us with her energy and she's an amazing passer who sees the floor well," Mannix said. "She's one of the smartest players I've ever played with and she's a great shooter, so she has it all."

Adelphi trailed 30-29 at the break. After three lead changes to begin the second half, Jenna Halaby's two free throws gave the Panthers a 39-38 advantage and they never trailed again.

Better defense and Tran's ability to create offense by both attacking the basket and scoring from the perimeter -- she shot 4-for-6 from three-point range -- enabled the Panthers to pull away with an 11-2 run midway through the second half.

Calli Balfour scored 14 points, Sierra Clark had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Halaby added 12 points and six assists for the Panthers (28-3). Brianna Bishop led American International (18-14) with 18 points.

"Our depth is the beauty of our team," Tran said. "One through 14, everyone stays ready."

The Panthers, who earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Tournament, will host Holy Family on Friday in a first-round game.

"Our goals at the beginning of the season were to win the NE-10 championship and a national title," Mannix said. "We checked one of those off so far."


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