HOLYOKE, Mass.- Despite holding the lead for the first twenty seven minutes of play, the tireless efforts of the Mountaineers senior guard Joa Claircius (Clermont, Fla.) was not enough as the Mountaineers allowed a second half comeback. Bay Path went on to defeat the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) rival for the second time this season 63-57.
Claircius finished the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six steals. However, Wildcat sophomore forward Kayla Skiffington (East Longmeadow, Mass.)led the Wildcats with 22 points and the game high 23 rebounds. In both games this season Skiffington finished with a 20-20 game.
Southern Vermont took the lead early in the first half and was able to maintain at least a five point cushion heading into the locker room for the break. Bay Path continued to chip away at the lead and was able to grab a few stops finally knotting the game 39-39 at 12:20 on the clock when Skiffington made a shot from the charity stripe. Claircius would answer the call and regain the lead with a made lay-up. The Mountaineers would take advantage of a Bay Path turnover allowing senior guard Alyssa Davis (West Burke, Vt.) to nail another shot inside bringing the score to 43-39.
Bay Path's freshman guard Je'Quana Orr (East Hartford, Conn.) scored next for the Wildcats. On the next possession Mountaineers' forward Kourtney Hewitt (Bennington, Vt.) followed an offensive board with a layup. The Wildcats would not relinquish with junior guard Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) starting the final run hitting a back door lay-up off a beautiful pass inside by her sister freshman Toni Alexander (Enfield, Conn.). Skiffington tied the game up again 45-45 at 8:21 on the clock. The Alexander's would nail another give and go pass to grab the first Bay Path lead of the game.
Davis would knot the game a final time, while sophomore forward Taylor Riley (Colchester, Vt.) would hit a lay-up to take control of the game. Brittney Alexander would hit a key trey with five minutes left leading her team to a giant surge in the final minutes. Both Skiffington and Orr would hit some key lay-ups. Claircius would score the final three buckets for the Mountaineers. Toni Alexander would make both of her free throws along with one made by Skiffington in the final seconds to notch the win.
Orr and Riley finished with 12 points apiece. Riley had two key blocks while Orr chipped two assists and four boards. Brittney and Toni Alexander combined for 17 points. Brittney had eleven points and four rebounds, while Toni finished with nine assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Hewitt had 16 points and seven rebounds. Davis was close behind with 15 points including two from downtown.
Bay Path improves to 5-14 overall and 5-10 in the NECC, while Southern Vermont is now 7-16 on the season and 6-10 in conference play. Both teams will host two more NECC matches with Southern Vermont hosting Becker at a 1:00 p.m. tip-off and Lesley travelling to Holyoke for a 5:00 p.m. start.