WESTFIELD, Mass. – Elms College freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) scored a team-high 15 points, but Westfield State University used a game-high 19-point effort from Jen Ashton (Beverly, Mass.) and held the Blazers to just 18 second half points as the Owls posted a 67-46 victory in Saturday afternoon's non-conference women's basketball game.
With the loss, Elms sees its four-game winning streak snapped and falls to 5-3 overall. Westfield State improves to 6-6 on the season.
Westfield State jumped out to an early 6-0 lead over the first 2:52 of the opening period and held its edge through the first 15 minutes of the first half but never led by more than six.
Trailing 25-21 with 5:04 remaining in the stanza, Elms' senior guard Carolyn Talmadge (Wilbraham, Mass.) swished a pair free throws to cut the Owls' lead to two at 25-23. Parks then stole the ball and pushed it ahead to sophomore guard Emily Boucher (Ashburnham, Mass.) who was fouled on the Blazers' ensuing possession. Boucher hit the front end of the two free throws to narrow the deficit to one before junior guard Jennifer Normandie (Westford, Mass.) nailed a mid-range jumper at the 3:59 to give Elms a 26-25 lead.
Westfield State's Angela Paterson (Nantucket, Mass.) answered with a jumper of her own to spark an 11-2 run by the Owls over the final three minutes of the first half to give Westfield State a 36-28 lead at intermission.
Parks scored 13 of her 15 points in the opening 20 minutes and Normandie contributed 10 of her 12 points during first half action, combining for 23 of the Blazers' 28 first half points.
The Owls received 17 first half points from Ashton who was 7 of 10 from the floor and a perfect 3 for 3 from the charity stripe in the frame. As a team, Westfield State shot 42.9-percent from the field, while Elms was 31.3-percent.
Twenty-six seconds into the second half, Elms' senior forward Erika Murphy (Torrington, Conn.) connected for a pair of free throws to pull the Blazers to within six, but Elms couldn't shrink the deficit further as Paterson drained a trey at the 15:58 mark to help Westfield State post a 12-point lead (43-31) which it maintained for the duration of the contest.
The Owls, which led by as many as 22 (63-41 with 4:15 to play), used 10-point outings from Paterson and Courtney Kegresse (Adams, Mass.), while Kelly O'Neill (Bridgewater, Mass.) added eight points.
Ashton, who recorded the team's lone double-double, added 11 rebounds to her 19 points, while Claudia Pereira (Ludlow, Mass.) and Gabby Felix (Springfield, Mass.) secured nine and eight boards respectively. Ashton also delivered nine assists and chipped in eight steals.
Murphy finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort, while Parks added a game-best 12 rebounds. Talmadge directed the attack with five assists.
Westfield State outscored Elms 34-14 in the paint and scored 24 points off 24Blazers' turnovers to help seal the win.
Elms returns to action following the holiday break on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012 when it travels to St. Joseph College (Conn.) for a 7:00 p.m. contest.