BENNINGTON, Vt. – Backed by a career-high 39 points by junior Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.), Elms College defeated Southern Vermont College 71-57 Tuesday night at the Mountaineer Athletic Center in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball action.
Southern Vermont was led by sophomore guard Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) who had 19 points while sophomore Mariah Anthony (Northfield, Mass.) notched a season-high 10 points off the Mountaineer bench. Parks added a game-best 20 rebounds to her line, tying a season-high that she set against SVC earlier in the year.
Through the first seven minutes, Southern Vermont remained close as a layup by Mountaineer sophomore forward Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) tied it at 11-11 with 14:09 to go. That was followed, however, by a 10-0 run capped by a Parks free throw that put the Blazers ahead 21-11 with 11:16 left to play in the opening frame. The next nine points of the game came from the free throw line as both teams played aggressively through the paint. Elms was able to keep its advantage margin as the visitors went 15-for-18 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe in the first half.
The two sides traded baskets through the remainder of the period before SVC freshman guard Amber Dow (Panton, Vt.) knocked down a three with just seconds left to close the EC lead to 37-27 heading into the break.
Parks notched the double-double in the stanza with 16 points and 10 boards. Flagg led the Mountaineers with nine points, and MacKenzie tabbed four blocks.
Elms came out to push its lead out to 43-27 in the second half as the Blazers scored the first three baskets while Southern Vermont was hard-pressed to convert on the offensive end. Finally, SVC sophomore forward Sarah McDonald (Cohoes, N.Y.) got the Mountaineers going with a layup which was soon followed by a Flagg three and a Dow jumper to close it back to 45-34. Parks wouldn't allow SVC to continue the comeback as she kept up her tear on both ends of the court, knocking down shots and grabbing caroms for the Blazers.
With 5:38 to play, Flagg hit both of two free throws to put Southern Vermont down by nine (61-52), but Parks scored seven unanswered on her own to make it 68-52 and put the game out of reach for the Mountaineers. EC junior forward Gianna Youngblood (East Freetown, Mass.) hit one from downtown with 1:24 to play to wrap it up for the Blazers as they took home the 71-57 victory.
Elms outscored SVC just 34-30 in the second half while the Mountaineers were able to limit their turnover total to just six in the period.
MacKenzie and White each had a team-high eight rebounds for the Mountaineers; MacKenzie finished with a career-high seven blocks, and White added eight points and a team-best four assists to her night. Dow ended with nine points, five rebounds and three steals in the effort.
Youngblood finished with eight points, the closest EC member to Parks in the column, while adding six rebounds. Blazer junior forward JC Pickett (Chicopee, Mass.) recorded 13 boards in the win, and senior guard Ellen Donohue (Southington, Conn.) had a game-high seven assists to go along with six points and three steals.
Elms out-boarded the Mountaineers by a 55-43 margin while adding 22 second-chance points to SVC's nine. The Blazers held Southern Vermont to a 29.9 percent clip from the field while only connecting on 24-of-69 field goal tries of their own (34.8 percent).
Southern Vermont (4-15, 2-10 NECC) is off until Saturday when the Mountaineers welcome Newbury College to the MAC for a 1 p.m. conference tilt. Elms (10-8, 9-2 NECC) also play at home next when Regis College visits the Chicopee campus Saturday for a 2 p.m. start.