LEICESTER, Mass. — Southern Vermont College made a strong comeback Tuesday night to erase a 16-point deficit, but the visiting Mountaineers were eventually edged 65-61 by Becker College in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball action at Leicester Gymnasium.
SVC trailed 36-24 at halftime but then cut the Becker lead down to just seven in the third quarter. The Mountaineers tied the game at 53-53 early in the fourth before finding themselves down two with 1:41 left to play. Errant shots on both sides through the final minute then saw the game come down to the wire, BC missing two free throws with 15 seconds left to give the Mountaineers a final chance. The Hawks were able to grab an offensive board on their second wayward bonus shot, then sealing the deal with another opportunity from the charity stripe.
Southern Vermont falls to 11-9 on the year and 8-5 against the NECC. The team next heads to Mitchell College on Saturday for a 1 p.m. league tip-off.
Mountaineer senior captain Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) led the visitors with 18 points while providing five rebounds and three assists in the effort. Classmate Shaniquewa Barnes (Landover, Md.) added another 12 points and a team-leading six rebounds while fellow senior Turquoia Johnson (Rockville, Md.) followed with 11 points, five boards and two steals off the bench. Senior Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) scored another 10 points and registered three rebounds and two blocks on the night.
SVC went 23-for-57 (40.4 percent) on the night from field goal range while the Hawks shot at 43.4 percent (23-53) on the floor. Both teams grabbed 35 rebounds as Becker took a 25-22 advantage in points off turnovers. Southern Vermont outscored Becker by a 40-20 clip from the paint, but BC knocked down five three-pointers while holding SVC to just one.
Becker took to an 8-2 lead to start the game, only to see Barnes score the next four to cut it down to a two-point difference. Three Hawk triples in the final 2:53 of the first quarter put the hosts up by nine before a Flagg jumper beat the horn to make it a 19-12 BC advantage going to the second.
Flagg dropped a basket from downtown shortly into the next period, and three SVC free throws cut it to 23-18 in favor of the Hawks. Becker would go on a strong 11-0 run to open things up midway through the quarter, only to see three Mountaineers tally buckets to trim it down to a 34-24 BC lead. The Hawks got the last score of the half, sending the game to the intermission ahead 36-24.
SVC continued to cut into the deficit after resuming play as MacKenzie, Flagg and Barnes registered consecutive layups to get within eight (38-30). A pair of Barnes free throws preceded Johnson completing an old-fashioned three-point play, but Becker once again extended its separation as the Hawks scored seven unanswered to go on top 49-38. Baskets were traded over the next couple minutes until Southern Vermont closed out the third with four straight points, making it a 53-46 ballgame heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Mountaineers shut out Becker through the first four minutes of the last frame, SVC scoring the opening seven points of the period to tie things at 53-53. Once Becker got its offense going, however, the hosts tallied six unanswered to pull back in front. Missed BC free throws, accompanied by converted Southern Vermont attempts at the other end, set the score at 61-57 before a MacKenzie layup made it a one-possession game with 1:41 on the clock.
A pair of Hawk free throws pushed it back to four, but Flagg quickly got a basket to go on the ensuing possession for BC to lead only 63-61 at the 1:08 mark. Both sides would miss shots in the final minute of play while also turning it over once apiece, a Hawk steal with 24 ticks left forcing SVC to foul. BC missed both of its bonus free throws but was able to grab the offensive rebound on the backend, and an intentional foul call on Southern Vermont then gave Becker another two shots and the ball back. The BC shooter dropped both of the freebies, and the hosts then ran out the clock after the inbound pass to close out the win.