MEDFORD, Mass. – Led by Chandler Guerrette with a whopping 28 points, the Husson Eagles outplayed the DeSales Bulldogs in the second half on Friday night to capture a first round NCAA Tournament victory. This was the first time that Husson won a game in the NCAA Tournament since joining in 2004 and also marked the Eagles' first national tournament win since 1993.
The matchup between Husson (23-4) and DeSales (20-8) came down to the final seconds as the two teams battled back and forth all evening. With 12 seconds left in the game, Darla Morales drew a foul and hit both foul shots to bring the score to 71-65 Eagles. Just one second later, the Bulldogs answered with a 3-pointer by Morgan Birmelin cutting Husson's lead to just three. Both teams committed fouls as the final seconds slowly ticked by. In a final attempt to even the score, Bulldogs' Birmelin tossed up a last second prayer, but it wasn't enough to catch up with the Eagles, as Husson took down DeSales 74-72.
Husson struggled to find their groove in the first quarter as they trailed the Bulldogs by a seven going into the second quarter down, 14-21.
With 3:44 left in the in the 2nd quarter, the Eagles made a late push to even the score with the Bulldogs as Sami Ireland drained a jump shot to tie the contest at 25. Unfortunately, this newfound momentum would not prevail to claim the lead for the Eagles as the half came to a close. Husson outscored DeSales 13-11 in the final minutes but trailed 27-32 heading into the break.
On the half, Maegan True led the way for Husson with 7 points, followed by Morales sinking two 3-pointers (6 points) and Guerrette notching 5 points and 5 rebounds.
As for DeSales, Morgan McCollian led all scorers with 10 points and 5 rebounds while teammate, Meagan Baird netted 6 points and Bridget Walsh added on 5 more points for the Bulldogs.
The Eagles began the third quarter on a 6-3 run, as Guerrette scored four out of Husson's six points. The following minutes were quiet until Husson's Ireland hit a jump shot with 4:15 left on the clock, starting the final 15-3 run for Husson. Guerrette finished off the quarter nailing two 3-pointers to make it a one point game as DeSales clinched a one-point lead, 49-48, going into the fourth quarter.
With 6:26 left in the game, the Eagles captured a 57-55 lead with Morales on fire from behind the arc, sinking another 3-pointer. Husson continued to hold the lead as Kenzie Worcester established a five point margin with a jump shot in the final four minutes which ultimately sealed the win for the Eagles.
When asked about her team's performance, the Eagles' head coach Kissy Walker said she was "Extremely proud of her team tonight." Walker added that "the two players sitting here with me (Guerrette and Worcester) sort of led the charge, and play with an incredible amount of heart and desire, and are determined."
On the night, McCollian led the Bulldogs with 21 points and 8 rebounds while Baird gathered up 17 points and Birmelin added 13 points plus 6 rebounds of her own. Molly Jansco made her presence known under the basket collecting 6 rebounds.
Guerrette led all scorers with 28 points, helping her reach third all-time in program history hitting 1,326 total points for her career. Four more players for Husson achieved double-digits, True and Morales tied at 11, while Worcester and Ireland added on 10 points each. Under the hoop, Ireland snagged nine boards and three blocks while True brought in another six boards and three steals.
With this win, Husson will be advancing to the next round of the NCAA Tournament tomorrow, Saturday March 4th at 5pm. The Eagles will take on the winner of the game between Tufts and St. Joseph's (Maine).