CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College senior forward Erika Murphy (Torrington, Conn.) broke a 61-61 tie with 16 seconds remaining and finished with a game-high 24 points to help the Blazers earn a thrilling 63-61 victory over Daniel Webster College in Thursday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Elms has now won seven straight games and improves to 14-5 on the season, 11-1 in NECC action. Daniel Webster falls to 12-7 overall, 8-4 in league play.
Trailing 60-53 with 3:34 to play in the game, Elms used an 8-1 run highlighted by a pair of layups by junior guard Jennifer Normandie (Westford, Mass.) and one each from Murphy and freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) to knot the score at 61-61 with 1:23 on the clock.
Following a pair of missed buckets by Daniel Webster, the sides exchanged a pair of turnovers and steals to give the Blazers possession with just 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Normandie found Murphy in the high post and Murphy delivered what proved to be the game-winner with 16 seconds on the clock. The Eagles had a pair of opportunities to tie but two missed layups sealed the victory for Elms.
Elms shot 48.3-percent from the floor in the second period and 41.9-percent for the game, as Murphy and Parks each finished with over 20 points (24 and 20 respectively). Each forward also collected a game-high 13 rebounds and were 10 of 17 shooting from the field.
Murphy added six steals in the game and the Blazers outscored Daniel Webster 46-18 in the paint.
In the first half, Elms jumped out to an early nine-point lead (15-6 at the 12:44 mark) before Daniel Webster's Ali Chojnacki (Raymond, N.H.) swished a trey that started an 11-4 run that put the Eagles ahead, 20-19 with 5:08 to play. The sides exchanged the lead three more times before Daniel Webster's Sarah Paternostro (Glastonbury, Conn.) canned a trey to give the Eagles a 28-27 edge at the 1:40 mark. Emily Travis (Swansea, Mass.) added a layup before Elms' freshman forward Gianna Youngblood (East Freetown, Mass.) hit the front end of two free throws to set the score at 30-28 at intermission.
Alycia Gervais (Windham, Conn.) connected from beyond the arc 2:22 into the second half to give the Eagles a 33-28 lead and maintained its advantage throughout the majority of the second stanza. Elms narrowed its deficit to one on three occasions and tied the score twice but could not regain the lead until the final 16 seconds of play.
Paternostro was terrific in the losing effort, draining four of her five three-pointers in the second half en route to a team-high 21 points, while Chojnacki finished with 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting and hauled in a team-best seven rebounds.
Gervais added nine points, Jennifer Fredericks (Beacon Falls, Conn.) added seven boards and Paternostro dished out six assists for Daniel Webster.
Elms returns to NECC action on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Newbury College at 12:00 p.m.