Wheelock Upsets Mitchell, While the Rest of the Top Seeds Advance to the NECC Semifinals

Wheelock Upsets Mitchell, While the Rest of the Top Seeds Advance to the NECC Semifinals

Attleboro, Mass. - Fifth seeded Wheelock College upsets fourth seeded Mitchell College 69-56 to earn a spot in the NECC Semifinals. The Wildcats will face top seeded Regis College who won their quarterfinal game 95-33. 

Second seeded Elms College secured a place in the semifinals after a 88-57 victory over Daniel Webster College. The Blazers will face third seeded Becker College who was victorious against sixth seeded Newbury College

#5 Wheelock 69, #4 Mitchell 56

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Fifth-seeded Wheelock College held off fourth-seeded Mitchell College in the second half of a 69-56 final on Tuesday night in the first round of the 2017 New England Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Championship at the Yarnall Athletic Center.

Wheelock (15-11 overall) earned its first-ever NECC postseason win and improved to 1-3 all-time in the tournament. The Wildcats advance to the semifinals and will play at top-seeded Regis College on Thursday, February 23 at 7 p.m.

Katie Walsh posted game highs of 26 points and 23 rebounds to lead Wheelock. Michelle Woods added 15 points and eight boards while Jaime Grzych contributed 15 points, six assists and four steals.

Jessica Shepherd paced Mitchell with 12 points, five assists and three steals.Allegra Jones had nine points off the bench to go with three assists.

Walsh carried Wheelock in the opening quarter, netting nine of her team's first 11 points and igniting an 8-0 run that gave the Wildcats the lead. She finished with 11 in the period as Wheelock led 16-12 after one.

The Mariners trailed by five in the second quarter before going on a 7-0 run to steal the lead. Jessica Lohneiss had five points during the stretch, including a three-pointer that put Mitchell on top 19-17 with 5:14 to go before the half.

After a lay-up by Walsh tied the game, Woods took over the scoring duties and poured in Wheelock's final seven points of the half. Her three-point play with four seconds remaining put the Wildcats up 26-21 at the break.

The duo of Walsh and Woods accounted for 23 of Wheelock's 26 points in the first half. Walsh had a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards by intermission to lead all players. Mitchell's offense was more balanced as both Lohneiss and Camille Staggers (New Haven, Conn./Hillhouse) had five points.

Wheelock pushed its lead to double digits in the first six minutes of the second half. The Wildcats took their biggest lead at 45-30 following a three by Grzych with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Mitchell cut into the deficit with a barrage of threes to end the period. Shepherd connected twice and dished to Lohneiss for the third, trimming the margin to 45-39 heading into the fourth.

The Mariners never got closer than four in the final stanza as Wheelock had an answer at every turn. Grzych hit a big three with 3:14 to play to give the Wildcats some breathing room at 56-49. After a three by Alexandra Kolb got the Mariners back to within four, Sarah Tobin banked in a jumper to pad the lead.

Wheelock scored the final nine points of the contest-all at the free throw line-to seal the win. The five starters logged heavy minutes and accounted for all 69 points. The Wildcats shot only 34 percent from the floor but went 22-for-27 as a team at the free throw line.

The Mariners owned a 25-0 advantage in bench scoring, but got to the foul line only six times. Tiana Edwards grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds to pace Mitchell on the glass.

Mitchell ends the season with a record of 12-14.

Courtesy of Mitchell Athletics Communications.

#1 Regis 95, #8 Lesley 33

WESTON, Mass. - The Regis (Mass.) women's basketball team advanced to the New England Collegiate Conference semifinals for the sixth consecutive season on Tuesday night, defeating Lesley University by a final score of 95-33 in the conference quarterfinals at Higgins Court.
With the win, the Pride hits the 20-win plateau for also the sixth consecutive season, improving to 20-6 on the year. The season comes to an end for the Lynx, who finish the year with a record of 7-19.
The Pride controlled the game's tempo just about from the outset, and led the Lynx 17-7 after one quarter despite the team missing the first four shots of the game and hitting just 6-of-16 (37.5%) total in the quarter. The Pride was firing on all cylinders by the second quarter however, when the team hit 10-of-17 (58.8%) from the floor in the second quarter to jump out to a commanding 42-14 lead at the half. Pride junior Brittany Stone led all scorers in the opening 20 minutes with 12 points.
The second half was more of the same for the home side, who couldn't miss from the start. A Sam D'Angelo three-pointer capped a 9-0 run for the Pride to open the third quarter and extended the Pride's lead to 51-14 just over three minutes into the period. D'Angelo's triple was one of four that the Pride hit on five attempts in the quarter, which ended with the Pride on top 68-23.
The Pride continued to rain threes in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory, hitting 5-of-7 (71.4%) from beyond the arc in the period. Junior Brandi Bonneau and sophomore Chayla Louro each went 2-for-2 from three in the quarter to lead the Pride's offensive charge. Regis would go on to outscore the visiting Lynx 27-10 in the fourth to seal the big win.
Stone and Lesley junior Theresa Pereira each scored 16 points on the evening to pace all scorers, while Stone picked up the double-double with 10 boards (six offensive). D'Angelo finished just a bucket shy of matching Stone and Pereira, scoring 14 points on the evening. The Pride got scoring right down their lineup, as every player on the roster scored points in the win. The Regis bench had an impressive evening with 46 points, led by Bonneau's nine and eight from sophomore Maura Russell.

The Pride advance to take on #5 Wheelock in the semifinals, who defeated #4 Mitchell by a score of 69-56 in other NECC quarterfinal action Tuesday. The Pride and the Wildcats will tip off at 7:00 p.m. Thursday evening at Higgins Court to determine who advances to the NECC Championship.
Courtesy of Regis Athletics Communications. 

#2 Elms 88, #7 Daneil Webster 57

CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's basketball team punched their ticket into the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Semifinals after defeating visiting Daniel Webster College, 88-57, in a NECC Championship Quarterfinal tilt at Picknelly Arena Tuesday night. With the win, the Blazers improve to 16-10 on the season, while Daniel Webster wraps their campaign with an 8-18 mark.
Play was tight during the first quarter with four points being the largest gap of the frame as the Eagles jumped to a 4-0 lead on buckets from junior Natasha Santana and senior Briana Diggs. The Blazers grabbed their first lead of the contest as senior Alexandra Marques delivered a three-point play at the 5:48 mark to give Elms a 9-8 lead. The Blazers advanced the lead to 13-10 on a drive from freshman Molly Moulton, but back-to-back jumpers from junior Amanda Gendron handed the Eagles a 16-15 advantage after the opening period.

The Blazers took the lead for good in the second quarter as six straight points from sophomore Chaniah Pantry and a three-pointer from classmate Kayla Aberdale pushed Elms ahead 29-22 with 5:55 left in the half. The Eagles battled back behind a 9-2 run over the next two minutes, paced by seven points from junior Escarlin Reynoso to even the score at 31-31. The Blazers regained control with a 9-2 run to close the half with a 40-33 lead.

Elms put the Eagles in the rear view in the third quarter, outscoring Daniel Webster, 29-11, during the period. The Blazers opened the scoring with a 6-0 run, and then raced ahead behind eight points from Pantry to capture a 56-35 advantage. Santana knocked down a pair of jumpers for the Eagles to trim into the gap, but Elms wrapped the quarter with an 11-4 run to hold a 69-44 lead heading into the fourth.

The Blazers carried an 8-3 run over the opening four minutes of the frame to build a 77-47 lead. A drive from senior Emily Burr capped another 8-3 spurt to give the Blazers their largest lead of the contest, 85-50, with 4:35 to play. Santana added four points late for the Eagles as Elms rolled to the 88-57 victory.

Pantry powered the Blazers with the best performance of her career, pouring in a career-high 24 points, shooting 10-of-16 from the floor, with a career-high 22 rebounds and three blocks for her sixth double-double of the season. Marques logged her 17th double-double of the season with 12 points and 17 rebounds, while Burr tallied 16 points and six rebounds. Junior Mackenzie LaRochelle added 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and freshman Samantha Lynes dished out a career-high five assists in the win.

"I thought we started off a little slow tonight," said Elms College Head Coach Michelle Proulx. "In the second half, we started to attacking a lot better and using our post players effectively, but our defense was much better in the second half. One of the biggest strengths of our post players is offensive rebounding, they have a nose for the ball and go and get it. We need to a better job of finishing on the front end, but we did a good job of creating second-chance opportunities with our rebounding.  Chaniah and Alex have been excelling during the second semester, and now they are playing really well at the right time of the year. [Becker] is a really young, tough, skilled team that plays hard with a lot of energy. They are more of a traditional team with scorers everywhere, they have a lot of guards and a couple of really skilled post players. It's going to come down to defense for us. In our second game against Becker, we played a poor first half and then we came out and locked them down defensively, which allowed our offense to come easy to us. It will be a tough matchup, but it's been the same thing for us all year, if we can control the rebounding numbers, control our turnovers, and play well defensively, we'll come out on the right end."

The Eagles had three scorers in double figures, led by a double-double effort from senior Kayla Free with a team-high 19 points and a team-high 18 rebounds. Reynoso registered 15 points, four rebounds and three steals, while Santana chipped in 14 points, six rebounds and three assists.

The Blazers dominated the glass with a program-high 85 rebounds, including 35 offensive rebounds, to 44 rebounds for the Eagles. Elms connected on 36.3% (33-of-91) from the floor, including 33.3% (5-of-15) from three-point range, and 58.6% (17-of-29) from the foul line. Daniel Webster shot 28.6% (24-of-84) from the field, 16.7% (2-of-12) from three-point, and 35% (7-of-20) from the free throw stripe.

The Blazers advance to the NECC Championship Semifinals to face third-seed Becker College Thursday night at Picknelly Arena at 7:00 p.m.

Courtesy of Elms Athletics Communications.

#3 Becker 57, #6 Newbury 50

LEICESTER, Mass. - The Becker College women's basketball team won 57-50 over visiting Newbury College in the quarterfinals of the New England Collegiate Conference Championship Tournament on Tuesday evening at the Leicester Gymnasium.

The Hawks of Becker (15-11), entering the game as the tournament's third seed, were led by sophomore guard Katey Anderson, who scored a career-high 15 points on five-of-eight shooting. Sophomore guard Ciara McKissick pulled down a game-high 15 boards while scoring nine points and accumulating two steals. Freshman guard Kelsey Maynard finished with nine points while sophomore forward Adrianna Dowdy had six points, eight rebounds and four assists. Sophomore guard Tanaisha Espino came off the bench to score eight points.

The Nighthawks of Newbury (8-18), playing as the tournament's sixth seed, were led by junior forward Destiny Spears with 22 points and nine rebounds while sophomore forward Savannah Olsen finished with ten points and nine boards.

Becker opened the game scoring eight of the game's first ten points, a stretch that saw Dowdy score the first Hawk basket, then assist on the next three. Newbury recovered quickly, however, getting to the line 14 times in the first quarter and going ahead 14-12 on two free throws from sophomore guard Isabelle Pafford. That would be the score at the end of the first quarter.

Down five with 8:01 left in the first half, the Hawks turned to their bench as senior guard Marissa Turner and Espino both made big baskets as part of a 12-1 Becker run to regain the lead at 24-18 with 2:04 left in the quarter. Then with 37 seconds left before the break, Espino buried just her fourth three-pointer of the year as Becker went into the break leading 27-21.

In the third quarter, defense and some timely three-point shooting saw the Hawks slowly pull away. With 2:46 left in the quarter, Maynard hit a huge three-pointer to put Becker ahead 40-28, their largest lead of the game up to that point. Despite a late Nighthawk surge, the Hawks entered the final quarter leading 44-36.

In the fourth quarter, Anderson had the hot hand early, hitting a jumper and following it up wi th a three to put Becker up 51-38 with 7:43 remaining. Newbury attempted to rally, cutting it to seven on a three-point play from Olsen with 2:34 left.

But the Hawks' defense stiffened when it mattered most, forcing a critical Nighthawk turnover and forcing the visitors to foul with 42.4 remaining. Freshman guard Cassidy Harrison, coming off the bench for the first time since January 7th, made one of two to increase the lead to six, and a missed shot by Newbury put McKissick on the line. The sophomore made one of two with 20.3 to go, and seven seconds later made both to put the game away.  

The Hawks of Becker advance to the NECC Semifinals on Thursday night, when they will travel to Elms College, who earlier defeated Daniel Webster College, 88-57, in their quarterfinals bracket. It will be just the fourth time in school history that Becker has reached the semifinals of the NECC Championships.  

Courtesy of Becker Athletics Communications.

First Round – Tuesday, February 21st

Game 1: #1 Regis 95, #8 Lesley 33
Game 2: #5 Wheelock 69, #4 Mitchell 56
Game 3: #2 Elms 88, #7 Daniel Webster 57
Game 4: #3 Becker 57, #6 Newbury 50

Semifinals – Thursday, February 23rd

Game 5: #5 Wheelock @ #1 Regis - 7:00 p.m.
Game 6: #3 Becker @ #2 Elms - 7:00 p.m.

Championship – Saturday, February 25th

Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner – TBA