Despite a long trip to Henniker, N.H., Bates had little problem with New England College en route to a 87-66 win. They jumped out to a 49-38 halftime lead, despite getting outshot 54.9 perent to 44.1 percent. The second half was much the same, with Bates enjoying a 10 to 15 point cushion, eventually outscoring NEC 38-28 in the second stanza. Junior center Sarah Bonkovsky led the way with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while first-year guard Colleen McCrave added 20 points, nine steals and seven boards. Senior point guard Dianna Devlin had 16 points to go with 10 assists. For the game, Bates outrebounded NEC on the offensive glass (16- 8) had 14 fewer turnovers (25-11) and three times as many steals (21-7), leading to the 21-point victory, despite a 10-percent difference in field goal shooting (50.8 to 40.6)
On Valentine's Day, it was the Bobcat women who provided the massacre, topping Tufts, 72-60. The Jumbos scored just one field goal in the first 10 minutes of the game as the Bobcats roared out to a 24-4 lead. Tufts would not go away, however, cutting the Bates lead to 12 with 1:39 left in the first half, but the Bobcats scored six of the last eight points, capped by a McCrave steal and lay-up to go into the break up 43-27. First-year forward A.T. Taylor led all scorers with 16 points at the half. Tufts tried to make another run, scoring nine of the first 11 points of the second half to trim the lead to nine just four minutes into the second half. The Jumbos would get no closer that that, however, thanks to an 8-0 run that chewed three minutes off the clock from the 14:47 mark of the second, extending the lead to 57-40. Taylor led Bates scorers with 23 points, 6 rebounds, four assists and four steals. McCrave and Bonkovsky each had 16 points. McCrave had four assists and eight steals. The Bobcats also had one of their better team shooting performances at 52.8 percent.
The final home victory of the regular season did not come easy, as Connecticut College came to Lewiston hoping to act as spoilers. The Bobcats prevailed however, 67-51, for just their second win of the season when held under 70 points. Bates started out once again with a tough defensive stand, as Conn College was able to hit on just two of its first 20 shots from the floor, as the Bobcats built a 19-5 lead in the first 12:30. The Camels picked it up a bit at the end of the half, matching the Bobcats the rest of the way, as Bates entered the locker room up 34-20, holding Conn College to 22.5 percent shooting from the floor in the half. First-year forward Kristen Porter a season with 13 points in the first half, though she would not score in the second frame. Bates cruised most of the rest of the way, as Conn College kept threatening, but never could get the lead down to single digits. The game was won at the free-throw line, where Bates outscored the Camels 26-2. Bonkovsky was the leading scorer for the Bobcats, scoring 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Taylor had 16 points and six rebounds in the contest, while Devlin contributed eight points and seven assists.
Finally, the Bobcats ended the regular season with a gutsy performance at Colby, taking the 65-56 victory, though it looked as if Colby would avenge a 21-point drubbing by the Bobcats earlier this season. The two teams had trouble scoring to start the game, but Bates took an 8-4 lead 3:45 into the game on a pair of Taylor free throws. Colby scored the next five points in thirty seconds, thanks to a Bates turnover and a tip-in of a missed free throw. After Porter converted an open jumper on a nice pass from McCrave, the While Mules went on an 11-0 run over 3:15 to jump out to a 20-10 lead with 11:37 remaining in the half. The Bobcats went on several four-point runs, but Colby always answered with consecutive buckets of their own, and Bates trailed at the half, 35-26. Coach Jim Murphy's came out inspired,turning the defense way up in the second half, allowing just two Colby baskets in the first 12:30. Taylor hit a 3-pointer with 11:45 left in the game to give Bates a 40-39 lead, their first since they led 10- 9 at the 15:14 mark of the first half. The Bobcats scored the next five points on a Devlin 3-pointer and McCrave steal and lay-up before Colby called time-out with the Bates lead at 45-39, a lead which they would never relinquish. Taylor the the way with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Bonkovsky had 16 point and 13 boards. Devlin notched 13 point, dished out 9 assists and recorded seven steals.
Coach Murphy's team, besides setting the school record for most wins in a season also set seasonal marks for most points scored (1,802), field goals made (706), 3-point shots made and attempted (89-326), assists (424) and steals (399). In addition, four starters achieved individual season records: Bonkovsky, 458 points; Taylor, 47 three-pointers; Devlin, 177 assists; McCrave, 163 steals.
Taylor earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors, while Bonkovsky was named to the ECAC honor roll, took home the NESCAC Co-Player of the Week and was named to the Academic All-District team, which includes Division II and III players from New York and New England.
The game at Tufts looked to be a good match-up for Bates, as both the Bobcats and Jumbos rely heavily on their backcourts for success, though Tufts took it to the Bobcats in the 106-88 rout. The game did not start out well for Bates, as Tufts scored the first three buckets of the game, but Bates battled back to score 13 of the next 16 points and take 13-9 lead 4:10 in. The game was close for the next five minutes, as the Bobcats held off the Jumbos, allowing them just one lead in the middle part of the half, at 25-24 with 10:12 remaining. Senior co-captain and point guard Adam Piandes answered, though, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Bobcats back up five, 30-25. Bates was able to stretch that lead to 38-29 with 5:58 to go in the half when Piandes was fouled as he drove the hoop, getting the basket and converting the free throw. Unfortunately, the 'Cats went cold, getting outscored 13-2 to close the half, the dagger coming on a Jumbo 3-pointer with eight ticks left on the clock to make the score 45- 40 Jumbos at the break. Though the Bobcats were able to claw their way to within two points at 50-48 on a bucket by junior Matt Garvey, Tufts' 3- point shooters were too much, outshooting Bates 52.9 percent to 33.3 percent in the second half, on their way to the 106-88 victory, the second-most points given up by the Bobcats this season. Despite outshooting Tufts 50.7 percent to 41.1 percent from thr floor, the Bobcats were hurt on the offensive glass, where the Jumbos earned a 23-8 advantage. Tufts also won the free-throw battle, hitting 20 to Bates' 10 and had the turnover edge, 20-11. Junior Mike Marsh and Piandes led the way for Bates with 25 points apiece, while Garvey had an uncharacteristically low 14 points.
After four straight on the road, Alumni Gym was not much of an improvement, as the Bobcats got steamrolled by Connecticut College, 99- 78. The Camels never trailed, and were never threatened, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and not looking back, as they led 51-38 at halftime. Six different Camels scored in double-figures, while only Garvey (32 points, 15-of-16 from the line) and Marsh (11 points) could manage the trick against a stingy Conn. College defense. The Camels outshot the Bobcats from the floor, 53.4 percent to 38.1 percent.
If the Bobcats could pick one game win all season, it would be either against Bowdoin or Colby. The Bobcats had knocked off the Polar Bears already early in the season, but were eager to erase the memory of an 86- 72 loss to the White Mules in January. As in the Tufts game, the 3-point shooters were out in force. Colby's first bucket was a trey, as were two of its next three as the Mules jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first four minutes. The Bobcats got into the act next, hitting four consecutive shots from behind the arc, three from Piandes and one from Marsh to cap the 12- 4 run, turning a 13-6 deficit into an 18-17 lead. The teams battled back and forth for a while, until Bates took the lead for good in the half, once again thanks to the deep threat, as Piandes and Garvey each connected to take a 34-31 lead with 5:44 remaining in the half. The Bobcats pushed the lead as high as six on a tip-in by sophomore forward Tim Sargent, and they went in that way, as Piandes drove the lane with the last shot of the first half giving Bates a 47-41 halftime lead. Bates started the second half on a 7-2 run to go up 54-43, their biggest lead of the game. But Colby would not go easily on their home floor, nailing a pair of treys and converting a bonus free throw on a made shot to pull back to 56-52 with 4:39 gone in the half. The White Mules then went on a 13-4 run at the 14:30 mark of the game to reclaim a 65-64 lead with 10:07 remaining. They expanded the lead by one, to 70-68, over the next three minutes, before the Bobcats beared down and ripped off a 13-5 run over a 2:49 stretch, started by another Piandes trifecta and capped by a pair of mid-range jumpers by Garvey that gave Bates an 81-75 lead with 3:12 to go in the game. Only three baskets were scored over the next two minutes, and Bates went into the final 70 seconds up 83-80. Down the stretch, Marsh hit his two free throws and Piandes hit four-of-five from the line to clinch the victory, 89-84. Piandes led the way with a season-high 31 points, while hitting on 5-10 from three-point land and handing out nine assists. Garvey chipped in with 20 points and Marsh had 13.