CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) led three Blazers in double figures with a team-high 21 points, while senior guard Carolyn Talmadge (Wilbraham, Mass.) added 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to help lift Elms to a hard-fought 69-61 victory over Newbury College in Saturday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Elms improves to 8-5 overall, 5-1 in the conference, while the loss gives Newbury a 7-6 mark on the season and its first loss in league play (5-1).
In the first 20 minutes, Elms shot a sweltering 46.9-percent from the field and used a balanced scoring attack that featured 10 points apiece from Parks and junior guard Jennifer Normandie (Westford, Mass.), while Talmadge added eight points and four assists during the opening frame.
The Blazers held a double-digit lead for the majority of the first half until Nephie Marsh (Brockton, Mass.) drained a three-pointer with 8:29 to play to pull Newbury to within seven at 23-16.
A layup by Normandie with 5:20 remaining extended the lead back to 11 at 31-20 before the Nighthawks scored six straight points to cut their deficit to five (31-26) with 3:44 to play.
A Talmadge triple, a jumper by sophomore guard Ellen Donohue (Southington, Conn.) and a layup by Parks set the score to 38-26 to highlight a 9-2 run by the Blazers to close out the stanza.
Elms started the second period on a 7-1 run over the first 3:24 and extended its lead to as many as 21 when Talmadge canned her second trey of the game to give the Blazers a 52-31 advantage.
Marsh, who was phenomenal off the bench for the Nighthawks answered with a trey of her own as the Nighthawks slowly chipped away at Elms' advantage.
Trailing 67-57 with 1:38 to play, Newbury used a jumper by Marsh and a bucket underneath by Catherine O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.) to pull the Nighthawks to within six at 67-61 with 29 seconds left before Talmadge converted two free throws with 23 ticks on the clock to increase the lead back to eight at 69-61.
From there, Normandie blocked a Katie Haney (Winchendon, Mass.) field goal attempt as the Blazers held on to knock of Newbury.
Parks added a team-high nine rebounds to her team-best 21 points, while Normandie collected 15 points on 6 of 15 shooting and added eight rebounds. She also contributed two blocks and three steals, while sophomore guard Emily Boucher (Ashburnham, Mass.), Donohue and freshman forward Gianna Youngblood (East Freetown, Mass.) added eight, seven and five points respectively.
O'Connell was a force in the paint, leading all scorers and rebounders with 25 points and 22 boards, while Marsh dropped in 21 off the bench.
Haney added seven points, four steals and 14 rebounds in the losing effort.
Elms returns to league play on Tuesday, Jan. 17 when it travels to Boston, Mass. for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with Wheelock College.