Women's Basketball Grabs 1st NECC Win 80-62 Over Lesley

Women's Basketball Grabs 1st NECC Win 80-62 Over Lesley

BENNINGTON, Vt. – Backed by a 45.5 field goal percentage, Southern Vermont College defeated visiting Lesley University 80-62 Tuesday night at the Mountaineer Athletic Center in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball action.

Mountaineer sophomore captain Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) led all players with 27 points, one shy of her career-high, while classmate Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) dropped a career-best 24 points to go along with 16 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Sarah McDonald (Cohoes, N.Y.) chipped in with 18 points and six rebounds.

The Lynx also saw three players reach double digits in points, being paced by junior center Grace Amato (South Royalton, Vt.) who notched a double-double with team-highs of 15 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Sarah Apgar (Andover, N.J.) recorded 12 points, eight boards, and game-highs of seven assists and six steals and sophomore guard Ari Dimou (Manchester, N.H.) totaled 10 points on the night off 2-of-3 shooting from beyond the arch.

 Southern Vermont jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with help from 5-of-5 shooting from the free throw line, a lead they would not relinquish. A jumper from Dimou made it 11-7 with 15:23 to play in the first, but SVC responded with an 8-0 run capped by two MacKenzie free throws to extend the lead to 19-7. The Mountaineers would lead by as many as 15 (24-9) after a McDonald bucket down low, but LU then chipped away to get within seven (28-21) with just under six minutes to go in the opening frame.

That would be the closest the Lynx would get for the remainder of the game as Southern Vermont refused to give up the advantage, increasing its lead once again to 14 (35-21) after an and-one conversion by MacKenzie; she had 17 points and seven rebounds in the first. The Mountaineers continued to be efficient down low, going into the break with a 40-26 upper hand.

The MacKenzie-McDonald combo came out of the locker room looking to carry its dominance into the second half, working with each other to keep the Mountaineers ahead comfortably. As Lesley tried to inch back by applying full court defensive pressure, Southern Vermont succeeded in breaking the press to find the two forwards untested underneath the hoop. McDonald had 14 in the second half as SVC went on to the 80-62 victory.

Mountaineer sophomore forward Javasha White (Schenectady, N.Y.) had five points and 10 boards off the bench while Flagg recorded four rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes of play.

Senior forward Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) added six points and seven rebounds off the Lynx bench while freshman guard Tara Coleman (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) and sophomore guard Jackie Ewing (Hong Kong, HK) added nine points apiece for the visitors.

Southern Vermont (3-8, 1-3 NECC) now looks ahead to Thursday's 5 p.m. NECC tip at Newbury College while Lesley (0-11, 0-4 NECC) prepares for a Thursday home game against league opponent Bay Path College starting at 8 p.m.