Behind 20 points and 10 rebounds per game from senior center Sarah Bonkovsky (Harvard, Mass.), the women's basketball team took third place at the Webber Energy Fuels/Citgo Hoops Classic. In the opening round, they defeated UMaine-Machias, 84-55. In the second round, they lost their second game of the season to UMaine-Farmington, 61-53. In the third place game, they set a tournament record for points in a game in defeating Husson College, 99-83.
In the tournament opener, Maine-Machias the Clippers and Bobcats played even for the first 13, with Bates leading 19-13. Sophomore forward Amy Taylor (Orono, Maine) scored eight of the game's next 10 points in just under a minute to give the Bobcats a 27-15 lead which would only increase from there. Bates led the Clippers 38-23 at halftime, with Taylor leading all scorers with 16 points at the break. The Bobcats exploded in the second half, outscoring the Clippers 26-4 over the first eight minutes and allowing coach Jim Murphy to rest his starters for the remainder of the game. All but three Bates players contributed to the 84-55 total, with four scoring in double figures. Taylor led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Bonkovsky's 17 points and 15 rebounds. First-year forward Jolene Thurston (Post Mills, Vt.) had a career high 15 and sophomore forward Kristen Porter had 13 points.
In the second round, the Bobcats faced No. 2 seed Maine-Farmington, which had survived a scare from No. 7 seed St. Joseph's in the first round, 67-64. Bates jumped out to a 6-1 lead on a pair of 3-pointers from Taylor. Farmington responded with an 18-5 run over the next seven minutes to take their biggest lead of the half at 19-11 with 9:43 remaining. The Bobcats answered with a 10-4 run of their own to get back to 22-21 with 5:05 left. Neither team scored in the next three and a half minutes, including a rare 0-for-2 from the line from Bonkovsky on a technical foul against the UMF bench. Bates had a few chances to regain the lead in the final 2:10, and did briefly on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Colleen McCrave (Walpole, Mass.) with 24 seconds left. The Beavers scored with five seconds remaining to take a 26-25 lead. Despite shooting 27.8 percent from the field Bates was lucky to still be in the game. In the second half, UMF was able to handle the Bates press and improve their shooting to hold on for the win. The Bobcats took their last lead of the game at 31-30 with 16:44 remaining on a Bonkovsky lay-up. She failed to convert an additional free throw. The Beavers scored the next seven points over the next 1:39. Neither team could sustain a run to either extend or cut into the Maine-Farmington lead. Bonkovsky hit a 3-pointer with 1:05 left, but the Beavers hit six of their last seven free throws to ice the game. Bonkovsky again led the Bobcats with 19 points, while first-year forward Emily King (Lebanon, N.H.) led with 11 rebounds. Taylor, who led all scorers with nine points at halftime, was held scoreless on just three shots in the second half.
In the third-place game against Husson, the Bobcats had one of their best all-around performances of the season. The score was a close 10-8 with 4:30 gone when coach Murphy called a time-out to discuss strategy. The Bobcats responded with a 14-5 run with featured seven points from Thurston, including a 3-pointer, and three assists and a basket by McCrave, putting bates up 24-13 with 12:26 left. The Braves climbed to within three points with 5:19 left in the first, but the Bobcats scored eight of the last 11 points of the half to take a 47-39 lead into the break. In the second, bates put the game away with a 10-2 run that took the lead from 56-50 to 64-52 with 14:04 left. After shooting just 33 percent from the line in the first half, the Bobcats maintained their lead by hitting 14-of-16 over the final five minutes, hanging on for the 99-83 win. Four of the Bobcats starters scored in double figures, led by Bonkovsky's season-high 24, King's 21 and Thurston's 15 points; all three had eight rebounds. In addition, McCrave had a season-high 19 points and seven assists.
Bonkovsky was named to the all-tournament team, while Thurston's 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds earned her Maine Rookie of the Week honors. Bonkovsky is fourth on the all-time scoring list with 1,109 points.
1/8 vs. Williams at Tufts
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