CASTLETON, Vt. – Third seed Husson University held on to defeat second seed Colby-Sawyer College, 54-49, Friday night in the second semifinal of the 2018 North Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, hosted by Castleton University at Glenbrook Gym.
Husson improves to 18-9 and advances to the NAC Tournament championship game, where it will face fourth seed Maine Maritime. Colby-Sawyer falls to 20-6
Colby-Sawyer opened an 8-2 lead with four minutes remaining in the first quarter, but Husson quickly responded with an 8-1 scoring run, capped by an offensive rebound and putback by Megan Peach that gave the Eagles a 10-9 lead. The Chargers answered with a three-pointer from Alli Barrett to retake the lead at 12-10 after the first quarter.
After Tianna Sugars made two free throws to open the second quarter, Husson put together a 10-0 scoring run over a three-minute span, with Jordan Butler making two three-pointers during the stretch. A jumper by Anna MacKenzie extended the Husson lead to 24-16, but the Chargers scored the final six points of the quarter to close their deficit to 24-22 at halftime
Emma Alley opened the second half with a three-pointer for the Eagles, but Colby-Sawyer scored six unanswered points, with a layup by Mackenzie Buzzell putting the Chargers on top, 28-27. That lead would not last long, as Butler converted a traditional three-point play and Sami Ireland scored four straight points to give Husson a 34-28 advantage with 3:19 remaining in the third quarter.
The Chargers closed to within two, but Husson responded again, as Kenzie Worcester scored five straight points to extend the Eagle lead to 39-32. Lexie Hamilton made a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to bring Colby-Sawyer within four at 39-35.
Hamilton hit two three-pointers and a jumper, plus she assisted on two layups by Sugars, as Colby-Sawyer opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 scoring run to go ahead, 47-41, with 6:13 left in the quarter. Husson responded, scoring the final 11 points of the game, with Worcester contributing the last six points, to earn the victory.
Butler led the Eagles in scoring with 17 points, plus she collected four rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots, while Worcester finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. As a team, Husson shot 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the field, including 7-of-17 from behind the three-point line, and 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from the free throw line.
Hamilton earned 19 points and six assists for the Chargers, and Sugars notched a double-double with 11 points and 18 rebounds. Emmani Robinson also pulled down 11 rebounds to go along with eight points, but Colby-Sawyer made just 29.7 percent (19-of-64) of its field goal attempts and 42.9 percent (6-of-14) of its free throw chances.
Colby-Sawyer won the rebounding battle, 47-43, including 16 offensive boards, plus the Chargers scored 13 points off 16 Husson turnovers.
Husson will be looking for its third consecutive NAC Tournament title and its fifth overall, while Maine Maritime is shooting for its first conference tournament championship since 2005.