LEWISTON, Maine — The Bates women’s basketball team scored the final 10 points of the game but the Wesleyan University Cardinals made a final defensive stand to hold off the Bobcats by a final score of 47-46 Friday night at Alumni Gym.
With Bates down one and just 13 seconds remaining, the Bobcats (7-13, 1-5 NESCAC) had a chance to win the game. But Maeve Vitale was able to tip a Bobcat pass into the backcourt and a last second heave from senior Nina Davenport (Freeport, Maine) missed its target, giving the Cardinals (13-5, 3-3 NESCAC) a narrow victory.
Davenport led all scorers with 14 points on the night and senior captain Lexie Nason (Boxford, Mass.) pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds for Bates. Meanwhile first-year Julia Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.) chipped in 10 points off the bench to go along with six rebounds, a team-high three assists and two steals.
Tara Berger paced the Cardinals with 11 points on 5-8 shooting and nine rebounds. Heidi Scarth added 10 points off the bench and Maddie Bledsoe hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds.
Both teams struggled from the floor, with Wesleyan shooting 30.6% (19-62) and Bates recorded a shooting percentage of 26.2% on 16-61 shooting. The Bobcats won the turnover battle 13-21 while Wesleyan used its height to out-rebound Bates 54-39.
The Bobcats found themselves down 47-36 with 6:17 to go in the game after Bledsoe split a pair of free throws. With 4:38 left, senior Emily Freedland (Marblehead, Mass.) hit a jumper to cut the Wesleyan lead to nine. A Middlebrook layup with 3:33 left made the score 47-40. The Bobcats got another stop and Davenport sank two free throws to trim the deficit to 47-42 with 2:54 to go.
After Freedland stole the ball from Wesleyan, Middlebrook made another layup to cut the deficit to three. Then the Bobcats made a defensive stop on the other end and sophomore Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) trimmed the Wesleyan lead to 47-46 with 1:31 remaining.
The Cardinals called timeout but Bates forced another missed shot and took the ball down the court with a chance to win the game. Freedland drove hard to the hoop but her layup missed its mark and the Cardinals grabbed the rebound with 41 seconds left. Vitale turned the ball over to give the Bobcats one more chance. But she redeemed herself on the defensive end to clinch the victory for Wesleyan.
Wesleyan never trailed on the evening. The first quarter was a low-scoring affair with the Cardinals outscoring Bates 9-5. Scarth made a layup with 2:06 to go in the first quarter to put the Cardinals up 6-4 and they did not relinquish the lead after that.
The teams played to a 16-16 tie in the second quarter. The Bobcats found themselves down seven with time expiring in the first half. Senior Lyse Henshaw (Brunswick, Maine) banked in a deep three at the buzzer to narrow the halftime deficit to 25-21.
A Freedland three with 8:45 left in the third quarter cut Wesleyan lead to 27-26. But the Cardinals responded with an 8-2 run to take a 35-28 lead on an Olivia Gorman free throw with 4:23 left in the third.
After Bates rallied to make the score 35-31, Wesleyan ended the quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 42-31 lead into the final 10 minutes of action.
Davenport made a three to open the scoring in the fourth quarter and the teams traded jumpers to make the score 44-36 in favor of the Cardinals with 8:12 left. A Scarth layup and Bledsoe’s free throw extended the lead back to 11 before the Bobcats ended the game on a 10-0 run.
The Bobcats are back in action Saturday afternoon when they host Connecticut College at 3:00 p.m.