Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
NEWTON, Mass. – The Elms College women's basketball team erased a halftime deficit with a 53-point second half to capture a 75-71 victory over Johnson State at the Mount Ida Mustang Classic Saturday evening. With the win, the Blazers improve to 1-1 on the season, while Johnson State dips to 1-1 overall.
The squads exchanged baskets to open the first quarter of play with the Badgers grabbing a 5-4 lead on a three-pointer from senior Ashley Goddard (Jamaica, Vt.), but Elms answered with a drive from senior Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) to take a 6-5 lead. The Blazers maintained their lead with buckets from senior Alexandra Marques (Newington, Conn.) and Burr, followed by free throws from Burr and junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) to close the opening frame with a 13-11 advantage.
Johnson State regained the lead in the opening minute of the second half after back-to-back baskets from senior Sarah Voorhis (Nashua, N.H.). Elms evened the score at 15-15 and then pulled ahead 21-15 at the 5:21 mark after a five-point spurt by sophomore Kayla Aberdale (Housatonic, Mass.). The Badgers chipped away at the deficit, and then a three-pointer from junior Crystal Sandlin (Cincinnati, Ohio) with 1:33 remaining put Johnson State up 23-22. The Badgers carried a 24-22 lead into halftime.
The Badgers maintained their lead to open the third quarter behind four-point efforts from senior Kasey DeGreenia (Concord, Vt.) and Voorhis to hold a 32-28 advantage. The Blazers battled from behind over the four minutes, capped by a 10-2 run, featuring five straight points from LaRochelle to put Elms ahead 42-41 at the 3:08 mark. A 5-2 run by Johnson State send the Badgers ahead, but a three-pointer from Aberdale and a three-point play from Burr gave Elms a 52-46 advantage heading into the final quarter.
The Blazers expanded their lead to double digit early in the fourth quarter after back-to-back buckets from LaRochelle and Aberdale. Johnson State rallied back with a 7-0 run to cut the gap to 56-53, but Elms freshman Molly Moulton (North Adams, Mass.) connected for five points to hold a 66-58 lead for the Blazers. Trailing 67-60, Johnson State mounted a final comeback attempt, using a 5-0 run to trim the deficit to 67-65 with 2:31 remaining. Moulton knocked down a trey to stifle the run, but back-to-back baskets put Johnson State within a point, 70-69, with 21 seconds to play. With the Badgers forced to foul, the Blazers connected on five-of-six free throws down the stretch to secure the 75-71 victory.
Five Blazers recorded double figures in the win, led by Marques with her first double-double of the season with a team-high 18 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Aberdale netted a career-high 16 points with six rebounds off the bench, while Moulton set a career-high with 14 points, a team-high four steals and three rebounds. Burr added 12 points, three assists and three steals. LaRochelle flirted with a triple-double, logging 11 points, a game-high eight assists and seven rebounds.
Johnson State was powered by a game-high 20 points and eight rebounds from Voorhis. DeGreenia registered a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, while Goddard also recorded a double-double with a game-high 15 rebounds and 11 points.
The Badgers edged the Blazers on the glass, 44-38, while Elms owned bench points, 27-13, during the contest. The Blazers connected on 40.6% (26-of-64) from the floor, including 42.9% (6-of-14) from three-point range, and 65.4% (17-of-26) from the foul line. Johnson State shot 39.7% (27-of-68) from the field, 33.3% (3-of-9) from three-point, and 70% (14-of-20) from the charity stripe.
The Blazers and Badgers will be back in action on the final day of the Mustang Classic Sunday afternoon. Elms faces host Mount Ida at 3:00 p.m. Johnson State takes on Bay Path at 1:00 p.m.