BANGOR, Maine –The #3 Husson University women's basketball team edged out the #6 New England College (NEC) Pilgrims, 56-45, in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Quarterfinal match on Tuesday evening at Newman Gymnasium, to help the Eagles (17-9, 14-4 NAC) go 3-0 over the Pilgrims (14-12, 9-9) this season. With this win, Husson will face #2 Colby-Sawyer in the NAC Semifinals for the second-straight year.
Remaining within three points of each other throughout the opening quarter, Husson established control of the floor just before the buzzer thanks to a steal by Megan Peach with 10 seconds left on the clock. She handed off the ball to Kenzie Worcester who whipped it up the court to Joan Overman. Overman looked for a teammate under the hoop with her pass nearly getting intercepted by the Pilgrims, but Peach leapt out of bounds to save it, pushing the ball above the traffic in the paint out to Worcester at the top of the key. She went up for the basket without hesitation, watching it drop through the net just before the buzzer went off to signify the end of the first quarter as the Eagles captured the largest lead so far on the night, 13-9.
NEC returned the score to a three-point game off a deep shot from behind the arc by Hannah Nelson (15-12), less than two minutes into the second quarter. Unfortunately, the Pilgrims struggled with foul trouble under the hoop trying to stop the Eagles' attack, which helped Husson extend their lead to 27-13 with 3:16 left to play in the first half. From the free throw line, Worcester and Jordan Butler went 5-6 in the Eagles 11-0 run. Taking advantage of an Eagle turnover, the Pilgrims jumped back on the board with back-to-back layups by Daleia Boutwell as the second quarter came to a close leaving Husson with a 28-10 advantage on the scoreboard.
At the half, Worcester was the only player on the court hitting double-digits with 10 points while Boutwell led her team with six. Taking control under the hoop, Haleigh Martin already grabbed seven boards for NEC to contribute to her team's total of 22 rebounds to Husson's 15.
The Pilgrims opened up the third quarter strong as Rene Hudson hit a pair of three's to bring her team just two buckets away from catching back up with the Eagles (28-24). Continuing with the momentum on the attack, NEC netted six unanswered points from the charity stripe combined with a 3-pointer by Martin, until the Eagles found their voice and answered with a three of their own by Butler. Husson closed out the third quarter on an 8-0 run and continued to separate themselves from the Pilgrims (46-32) as Worcester recorded her 20th point of the night, just 32 seconds into the final quarter.
Despite outscoring Husson in the final quarter, 13-11, NEC put up a tough fight, but Husson came out on top with the 56-45 victory to advance to the semifinals.
- Leading all scorers, junior guard Worcester netted 22 points, shooting 5-6 from the charity stripe and picking up three boards.
- Sophomore forward Ireland achieved her fourth double-double of the season with a combination of ten points and 13 rebounds, shooting 4-9 from the field.
- Senior guard Butler went 4-6 from the free throw line to add on to her total of nine points while also grabbing two steals and passing out a pair of assists.
LEADERS- NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE
- Sophomore forward Boutwell led her team with 11 points, shooting 5-12 from the field while snatching up two steals and six boards.
- Sophomore guard Hudson hit double-digits with 10 points and was the only player to successfully sink a pair of 3-pointers.
- Sophomore guard Martin helped out by snagging eight boards, six points, and two assists.
Husson edged NEC in field goal percentage 35% (21-60) to 28.6% (16-56), points scored off of turnovers (26-11), and total steals (10-7). The Pilgrims proved an advantage in rebounds, 42 to 39, while both teams leveled out with nine assists apiece.
With this victory, the Eagles will advance to the NAC Semifinal round as they travel to Castleton, Vt. to take on #2 Colby-Sawyer (20-5, 15-3 NAC) on Friday, February 23rd. Tipoff is slated for 8:00 p.m.