|University of New England||University of Scranton|
SCRANTON, Pa. — Bridgette Mann drained a three-pointer with 0.6 seconds on the clock to lift No.17 University of Scranton to a 49-48 victory over the University of New England in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship on Friday night (Mar. 3) at the Long Center.
The Lady Royals (25-3) never led in the contest before the final shot, which was Mann’s first make in 11 long-range tries during the evening. The team went 3-of-21 from behind the arc.
Scranton trailed by 10 (39-29) entering the 4th quarter and scored the initial six of the period to chip into the deficit, only to have Alicia Brown (Greenland, N.H.) convert a three-point play to give the Nor’easters a 42-35 advantage. Mann got a layup back, but then UNE’s Sadie Nelson (Windham, Maine) banked one in from downtown to set the gap at eight (45-37) with 4:58 to go.
It was 48-42 when Scranton’s Sarah Payonk put in two at the 2:03 mark, and a layup inside the last minute from Katie Broderick cut the lead to just two (48-46).
UNE came up empty on a pair of shots on its next possession, leaving the door open for the Lady Royals to tie or take the lead. Mann was errant on a three-point attempt from the right wing with 10 seconds remaining, but Payonk tracked down the offensive rebound. Coming out of a timeout with 6.0 left, Mann worked herself open on the left side and stepped into what proved to be the game-winner.
Scranton’s 56-percent conversion-rate (9-of-16) in the 4th resulted in 20 points, eight of which came from Alexix Roman.
Roman led the home team with 14 points on 7-of-11 field goals, and made it a double-double with 11 boards. Mann finished with 12 points, and Broderick added seven. Payonk totaled 14 rebounds and six assists.
The Lady Royals secured a 46-36 edge on the glass to help overcome being held more than 22 points below their season scoring average (71.2), as UNE limited Scranton to 34 percent shooting in the match.
For the Nor’easters, who conclude the year with a 23-6 record, Brown tallied a team-high 12 points to go with five rebounds. Lindsey Howland (New Braintree, Mass.) tossed in 11 on 4-of-5 shooting, and Sam MacDonald (Lebanon, N.H.) registered seven points, six caroms, and four assists. Nelson’s six points was matched by both Olivia Shaw (Saco, Maine) and Jocelyn Chaput (Nashua, N.H.), who collected nine and seven rebounds, respectively.
Howland had five early on as UNE led 14-10 through 10 minutes of action. After Scranton pulled even in the 2nd (14-14), Brown restored Big Blue’s cushion and Shaw ultimately canned her second trey of the half to bump the margin to 26-21 at the midway break.
The Nor’easters struck for the opening six of the 3rd as the cushion peaked at 11 (32-21), but eight unanswered by the Lady Royals closed the difference to 32-29. However, after a three-pointer by Howland and two freebies by Brown, Nelson dropped in a buzzer-beating triple as the UNE lead surged back up to double digits.
With the result, Scranton advances to the second round and will face SUNY Polytechnic Institute, which received a 43-point performance out of Stevie Ray to defeat Eastern Connecticut State University by a score of 80-72.
It also marked the final contest for Brown and Howland, UNE’s two seniors, who took part in amassing a 99-19 mark during their time representing the Nor’easters. Brown played in all 118 games, concluding her career with 1,322 points (10th in program history), 689 rebounds (9th), 554 made field goals (6th), and 243 blocks (1st).