LEICESTER, Mass. – A late 20-8 run got the Southern Vermont College women's basketball within one point from tying the game, but Becker College was able to convert its free throws as the Hawks took the 75-71 decision Tuesday evening in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) play.
The Mountaineers were led by sophomore forward Sarah McDonald (Cohoes, N.Y.) who paced the team with 23 points while Becker senior Haley Ooms (Valatie, N.Y.) notched a game-high 31 points to go along with 12 rebounds for the double-double, adding her 1,000th career point in the process.
SVC sophomore forward Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) recorded 19 points, a team-best nine rebounds and three blocks; that gives her 61 blocked shots on the year, breaking the Southern Vermont single-season record of 60 that she set as a freshman. Sophomore guard Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) added 12 points and tied the game-high of six assists.
Becker senior Jacqueline Chila (Monroe, Conn.) tallied a double-double off the Hawk bench with 10 points and 11 rebounds while senior Tatiana Mojica (Worcester, Mass.) chipped in with 14 points, six boards and three steals. Ooms also dished out six assists in the winning effort.
The Mountaineers outscored BC 43-33 in the second half, but their 14-point halftime deficit was slightly too much to overcome. Becker owned a 49-41 rebounding advantage and committed four less giveaways (24-20), only turning that into a 22-20 points-off-turnovers edge. Southern Vermont recorded its best field goal percentage of the season with a 50.8 clip (30-59) while holding the Hawks to just a 32.5 percentage (25-77) from the floor. But the free throw line was a determining factor with the Mountaineers going just 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) at the charity stripe while Becker was 17-for-21 (81.0 percent).
Southern Vermont climbed back into the game late in the second half, chipping away at Becker's 14-point halftime advantage. Chila nailed a jumper with 5:21 remaining in regulation, giving the Hawks a 67-56 lead. Southern Vermont responded by going on an 11-2 run, cutting the Becker lead to just two at 69-67 with 1:33 left on the clock. On the Hawks' next possession, Ooms hit a jumper inside the paint to give Becker a 71-67 cushion. The excitement was short-lived as Flagg answered with a three-pointer, shrinking the Becker lead to 71-70 with 1:04 remaining.
After a pair of free throws by Gabrielle Gallo (Northport, N.Y.) gave Becker a three-point advantage, Mountaineer freshman Gabrielle Gustamachio (Proctor,Vt.) came off the bench and nearly tied the game with a three-pointer, but it rattled out of the net. Ooms hit two free throws to preserve the Becker victory.
The two teams finish the home-and-away series Thursday when the Mountaineers (5-16, 3-11 NECC) welcome Becker (7-13, 7-7 NECC) to the SVC campus for a 7 p.m. tip.