Bates 60, Colby 57
BATES WOMEN CLAIM NESCAC TITLE WITH 60-57 WIN OVER COLBY
LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College women's basketball team (21-3, 8-1 NESCAC) claimed their fourth straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament by winning the New England Small College Athletic Conference title with a hard-fought 60-57 win over CBB rivals Colby College (16-8, 6-3) in Alumni Gym.
Bates missed 10 of its first 13 shots from the floor to start the game, falling behind by six points after an early 3-pointer by Colby's Jen Freese (Veazie, Maine). The Bobcats rallied to score the next 10 points, including a pair of quick strikes off the bench from sophomore Kate Dockery (New York, N.Y.). Trailing 14-10 with 9:20 left in the stanza, the White Mules went on a 13-3 run over the next five minutes to reestablish the six-point margin. Bates climbed back to within one point with 42 seconds left, but Lewiston native Bianca Belcher hit a running one-hander to give Colby a 30-27 lead, marking just the third time this season the Bobcats trailed at the half.
Bates led by as many as five in the second half, while Colby enjoyed a four-point margin, 53-49, with 6:43 left in the game. Junior forward Kate McLaughlin (Laconia, N.H.) answered with a couple of hoops on offensive rebounds to tie the game at 53 with 5:32 remaining. Bates had a chance to break the tie from the free throw line twice in the next two minutes, but were unable to regain the lead until first-year forward Marcy Grossman (Eastsound, Wash.) hit an 18-foot jumper, followed by senior captain Emily King's (Lebanon, N.H.) steal and lay-up out of a full court press to give them a 57-53 advantage with 3:22 remaining.
The Bobcats allowed Colby to stay around in the final three minutes thanks to dreadful free throw shooting, at one point missing nine of 10 from the line. Colby rookie center Sarah Walsh (Catonsville, Md.) and Freese each hit field goals in the final 90 seconds that cut the lead to 58-57 with 52 second left, but Bates' defense clamped down, as McLaughlin grabbed one of her game-high 13 rebounds with two seconds left to clinch the win.
McLaughlin led all players with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while King had 13 points and eight boards. The Bobcats overcame 12-of-29 shooting from the line to pick up the win. Erin Cole-Karagory (caribou, Maine) and Mandy Cochrane (Arlington, Mass.) each had 11 points in the losing effort.