DUDLEY, Mass. — The University of New England netted 60 points following halftime to rally and defeat Nichols College, 91-59, in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) women’s basketball finale on Saturday afternoon at the Athletic Center.
With their 14th consecutive positive result, the Nor’easters (20-5) reach the 20-win plateau for the ninth year in-a-row — still one of the six Division III programs with an active streak of nine or longer [with Hope College, DePauw University, Thomas More College, Amherst College, and Washington University (Mo.)].
At 16-2 in CCC action, UNE secures its fifth outright regular-season crown (eighth overall) in team history, and will be the league’s top seed for the sixth time in as many campaigns. Big Blue will host Gordon College in the quarterfinals on Tuesday (7 p.m.) as the conference postseason tournament gets underway.
Alicia Brown (Greenland, N.H.) and Sam MacDonald (Lebanon, N.H.) registered 17 and 16 points, respectively, to lead the visitors — which included 12 apiece in UNE’s 35-point 3rd quarter. Both went 7-of-11 from the floor in the contest, and Brown made her day a double-double with 10 rebounds. Sadie Nelson (Windham, Maine) and Olivia Allrich (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) each added 11 points, and Allrich corralled nine boards. Lindsey Howland (New Braintree, Mass.) contributed nine points, as did Ashley Coneys (Dover, N.H.), who pulled down a match-high 12 caroms.
The Nor’easters finished with a 58-33 rebounding edge and connected on 45 percent of their attempts, to just 32 percent of the opponent.
For the Bison (2-23, 2-16 CCC), Taylor Daniels tallied 14 points prior to fouling out. Mekaela Giantonio recorded 13 points, and Brittany Donovan had 10. Rebecca Cleary posted nine points — all in the 1st period — and had a team-best six boards.
Cleary helped race Nichols out to a 26-17 cushion through 10 minutes, as the hosts shot 10-for-18 from the field and capitalized on 10 UNE turnovers. The two sides struggled to find the range in the 2nd, making a combined 18 percent, and the Bison maintained a 39-31 lead at the break.
The Nor’easters upped the defensive pressure coming out of intermission, limiting Nichols to 3-of-12 shooting accuracy with six turnovers, while pouring in 15-for-21 tries on the offensive end. UNE entered the final frame with a 66-49 advantage, and continued to pour it on during the 4th, en route to a 17th straight win against the Bison.