HOLYOKE, Mass. — The Southern Vermont College women's basketball team topped Bay Path University 83-71 at Holyoke Community College Tuesday night, grabbing a win in its first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) game of the year.
The Mountaineers took a 45-32 lead into the halftime break, a cushion they would be able to hold through the final 20 minutes for the Conference victory.
The Mountaineers are next in action on Thursday with their home opener, welcoming Becker College to the SVC campus for a 6 p.m. NECC matchup.
Mountaineer senior Shaniquewa Barnes (Landover, Md.) tallied her second double-double of the year, notching 13 points and a game-best 13 rebounds to go with her two assists. Classmate Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) scored a team-high 14 points while pulling down six boards and blocking two shots, and fellow senior Turquoia Johnson (Rockville, Md.) added nine points and five rebounds.
Sophomore Danielle Simmons (Rensselaer, N.Y.) registered a season-high 13 points in nine minutes off the SVC bench while senior captain Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) had eight points, six rebounds and four assists. Junior captain Amber Dow (Vergennes, Vt.) notched six points, four assists and three rebounds, and freshman Amber Lesure (Cheshire, Mass.) chipped in with a season-best eight points, four steals and three assists in reserve time.
Southern Vermont improves to 3-2 on the year while starting the league schedule 1-0. SVC now owns a 10-6 edge in the all-time series with the Wildcats, having won the last four meetings between the two teams.
SVC went 32-74 (43.2 percent) from the floor while BPU finished with a 43.9 percent clip (29-66). The Mountaineers held a 51-42 advantage on the boards while winning the turnover battle by a 24-17 margin. Southern Vermont's bench outscored that of Bay Path 33-21, and SVC notched 18 second-chance points to the Wildcats' 10.
The lead was traded early on with the Wildcats going up 9-8 on a layup at the 4:54 mark of the first quarter. Southern Vermont would take control through the remainder of the stanza, however, going on a 12-1 run to close out the period with a 10-point lead. SVC had six steals in the final five minutes of play while five Mountaineers scored baskets for the upper hand.
Scoring went back-and-forth to start the second before a BPU jumper made it 25-18 in favor of SVC. That's when the Mountaineers opened things up, scoring on their next five trips down the floor while keeping Bay Path from registering a point. That turned into a 16-3 Southern Vermont run over the next three minutes, Barnes and Flagg each scoring five points in the surge to help put the visitors up by 20. The Wildcats were able to chip away with an 11-4 spurt to close the half, SVC taking a 45-32 lead into the break.
Bay Path cut it to nine midway through the third quarter, forcing a Southern Vermont timeout with the Mountaineers up 50-41. SVC came out of the stoppage and tallied eight unanswered points to bump its lead back out to 17, four Mountaineers getting in on the scoring. Baskets were traded down the stretch of the frame, two late Flagg free throws giving SVC a 66-53 lead heading into the fourth.
Simmons notched the first five points for Southern Vermont in a quarter-opening 7-2 spurt, giving the Mountaineers a comfortable 73-55 advantage. Bay Path tried to dig away at the deficit with a 12-1 run through the 2:00 mark, making it 78-69 going down the stretch. SVC was able to hold off the late push, freshman Ashley Boise (New Haven, Vt.) and sophomore Chloe Longe (Enosburg Falls, Vt.) each registering baskets to keep the game out of the Wildcats' reach.