BIDDEFORD, Maine — Top-seeded University of New England broke away from a tied game in the 4th quarter with a 19-2 run to secure a 73-58 victory over No.8 Gordon College in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women’s Basketball Championship on Tuesday night (Feb. 21) at the Harold Alfond Forum.
The Nor’easters (21-5) advance to face fifth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College (a 70-61 upset winner over No.4 Endicott College) in Thursday’s 7 p.m. semifinal.
Sam MacDonald (Lebanon, N.H.) scored 28 to guide the home squad, including 19 first-half points (on 8-of-12 shooting) as she matched her previous career-high through 20 minutes. Alicia Brown (Greenland, N.H.) finished strong to total 18 points and register her third double-double of the season, as she collected 13 rebounds while notching six rejections. Jocelyn Chaput (Nashua, N.H.) went for 12 points, five boards, and four assists. Olivia Shaw (Saco, Maine) and Sadie Nelson (Windham, Maine) added 10 and eight rebounds to Big Blue’s total, respectively, supporting a 46-34 advantage on the glass.
It marked the 15th consecutive win for UNE, which has taken the last 21 meetings against the Fighting Scots. The two sides had not played a postseason match since 2003.
For Gordon, which concludes its year with a 7-19 mark, Alisha Henderson (Oregon City, Ore.) tallied a team-high 11 points and four assists off the bench. Sarah Gibbs (Elizabethtown, Pa.) contributed 10 points and five caroms, and Brooke Dyson (Houston, Texas) tossed in nine points.
On the evening, UNE shot 45 percent (27-for-60) to the visitor’s 36 percent (22-for-62).
The Nor’easters held an eight-point lead (42-34) at halftime, and maintained that spread late in the 3rd period (52-44) before the Fighting Scots gradually sliced into the deficit. Seven unanswered points by Imani Lennon (Boston, Mass.) knotted things up at 53-53 with 8:09 to go.
However, Brown restored UNE’s edge on the scoreboard with 7:19 remaining, and the hosts never looked back. During the ensuing 6:05, the Nor’easters surged forward to a 72-55 cushion, as Brown (9), Chaput (5), and MacDonald (4) poured in all but one point in the deciding charge.
Meanwhile, the UNE defense shut down Gordon, which missed all eight of its shots and turned the ball over twice in the stretch.
At the start of the contest, the Nor’easters quickly assumed a 12-point lead, but the Fighting Scots logged the last five in the frame to make it 19-12 after 10 minutes.
In the high-scoring 2nd (UNE 23-22), Gordon pulled even at 26-all, 28-all, and 30-all before back-to-back triples set UNE in front. The hosts connected on 16-of-29 of their looks (55%) during the opening half, featuring 6-of-9 from downtown, but were hampered by 14 turnovers.