BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southern Vermont College women's basketball team fended off a late Newbury College push Tuesday evening to complete a 73-70 win in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.
SVC led 33-28 at halftime before taking a 53-46 upper hand into the final quarter. Newbury chipped away at its deficit, but the Nighthawks' comeback fell short as the Mountaineers shot 56.3 percent from the floor during the last frame to maintain its advantage.
Southern Vermont improves to 7-5 on the year and 4-1 in NECC action while NC falls to 3-9 overall, 2-3 in league play.
The Mountaineers are back at it on Thursday when they head to Daniel Webster College for a 5:30 p.m. Conference tip-off while Newbury visits Bay Path University on Thursday for a 4 p.m. league start.
SVC was led by senior captain Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) who dropped 18 points, adding six rebounds, six assists and two steals to her line; she knocked down a three-pointer in the win, tying her for Southern Vermont's all-time career-high mark of 138. Classmate Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) followed with 16 points while pulling down seven rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking three Nighthawk shots. Sophomore Chloe Longe (Enosburg Falls, Vt.) came off the Mountaineer bench to score 13 points and grab four rebounds, and senior Shaniquewa Barnes (Landover, Md.) tallied 11 points to go with her four steals and team-best nine boards. Junior captain Amber Dow (Vergennes, Vt.) also registered 11 points while chipping in three assists and two rebounds.
Newbury freshmen Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) and Taylor Kelley (North Billerica, Mass.) each recorded a game-high 19 points, both Nighthawks' scoring marks being new single game career-highs; Olsen added a game-best 12 rebounds for the double-double while also notching a pair of assists and two steals. Sophomore captain Destiny Spears (Arnold, Md.) fell just shy of a double-double with 15 points and nine boards, and senior captain Katelyn Roeser (Nashua, N.H.) provided eight points, five rebounds, and four steals, dishing out a game-high eight assists to narrowly miss her single game career-best of 10 helpers.
Southern Vermont went 27-63 (42.9 percent) from field goal range while NC shot at a 26-66 (39.4 percent) clip from the floor. SVC took a 43-37 edge on the glass and had its bench outscore that of Newbury by a 17-3 margin. The Nighthawks had a 24-19 advantage in points off turnovers and utilized offensive boards for a 17-5 upper hand in second-chance points. Both teams notched 34 points in the paint and eight fast-break points.
Flagg dropped her trey on the first possession of the game after SVC won the opening tip, a Barnes jumper then putting the Mountaineers up by five. Kelley scored the next seven points with help from a triple for NC's first lead of the contest, but Dow dropped a basket from downtown on the next trip down the floor as the upper hand went back-and-forth. Newbury reclaimed the lead late in the quarter, Roeser and Kelley knocking down threes for the final two scores of the stanza as the Nighthawks took a 17-12 lead into the second.
Spears got a layup to go for the first bucket of the quarter, only to see the Mountaineers run off nine unanswered points to back in front; Dow started that spurt with a trey before Flagg, Longe and MacKenzie each tallied layups to get in on the scoring. The lead was once again traded through the midway point of the period, a Newbury layup making it 28-25 in favor of the visitors with 3:21 left to go. That would be the last Nighthawk basket of the half, however, as SVC closed it out on an 8-0 run to grab a lead it would hold onto until the final buzzer; Southern Vermont sophomore Danielle Simmons (Rensselaer, N.Y.) notched the final four points before the intermission, hitting a jumper with just seconds to go for SVC to bring a 33-28 upper hand into the locker room.
Newbury came out of the break and saw Kelley hit a three, but Barnes answered with a basket on the other end to help keep the Mountaineers in front. Dow would fire home another three before a Flagg layup made it 40-33, only to see the Nighthawks cut their deficit back to three with a pair of scores. After Spears sank a trey just minutes later to make it a 45-44 lead in favor of SVC, the Mountaineers ended the third quarter on an 8-2 run for a seven-point advantage; MacKenzie had six of those Southern Vermont points including three on an and-one play with only a few ticks left on the clock.
SVC would go up by 10 early into the fourth for its biggest lead of the matchup, a Dow layup setting the score at 59-49 with 7:47 left to go. Newbury took to a 6-0 run to get within four, but Flagg converted an old-fashioned three point play to stay ahead. Olsen then registered the next four points to force a Mountaineer timeout with Southern Vermont clinging to a 62-59 lead at the 5:03 mark.
The hosts answered once again to increase their separation with the help of scores by Barnes and Flagg before a pair of downtown baskets off of Sandifer's hand cut it to 68-65. The teams traded buckets down the stretch until Olsen was fouled with NC in the double bonus, the Nighthawks trailing 72-69 with just 15 seconds to go. She would miss the first before converting on the backend of her trip to the line, but the Mountaineers were able to inbound the ball to Flagg who was fouled almost immediately. She would only hit her first of two freebies, giving Newbury one final chance to extend the game. An NC timeout allowed the Nighthawks to advance the ball down the court and draw up a three-point play for Kelley. The freshman's last-ditch effort was off the mark, however, as the horn sounded for SVC to celebrate its win.