Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
HOLYOKE, Mass. – The Elms College women's basketball team dispatched host Bay Path University, 00-00, in a New England Collegiate Conference tilt at the Bartley Athletic Center, on the campus of Holyoke Community College, Saturday afternoon. The Blazers improve to 8-7 overall, and 6-3 in conference play, while Bay Path drops to 0-9 in the NECC, and 1-13 on the season.
The Blazers found an offensive rhythm early with a three-pointer from senior Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) capping an 11-4 run by Elms over the opening four minutes. Elms used buckets from Blazers junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) and sophomore Kayla Aberdale (Housatonic, Mass.) to push their advantage to double digits, 15-4, with 2:15 remaining in the first quarter. The Wildcats chipped away at the lead with a basket from sophomore Haleigh Bassett (Millers Falls, Mass.) and free throws from senior Brenna Roy (Stafford Springs, Conn.) and senior Aaliyah Gordon (Springfield, Mass.), but Elms took an 18-8 lead into the second quarter.
Bay Path kicked off the second with a jumper from senior Dallas Jackson (Springfield, Mass.), but Elms answered with a jumper from Burr and a three-pointer from freshman Rachel Granger (Hampden, Mass.) to extend their advantage to 24-10 at the 6:39 mark. Elms continued to attack on the offensive end with back-to-back interior buckets from senior Alexandra Marques (Newington, Conn.) and a trey from freshman Samantha Lynes (Berlin, Conn.) to push the lead to 33-15. Elms freshman Molly Moulton (North Adams, Mass.) delivered a late three-pointer, along with tallies Lynes and freshman Kayla Soto (New Britain, Conn.), to send the Blazers into halftime with a 40-20 lead.
Jackson sandwiched buckets around a pair of free throws from Roy to cut into the Blazers lead, but Elms responded with a 10-4 run, paced by four points from Marques, to rebuild a 52-30 lead with 5:12 on the clock. After a fastbreak layup from Burr put Elms up 54-30, the Wildcats rattled off 13-7 run, behind six points from Roy, to close the period trailing 61-43.
The Blazers added to their lead early in the fourth as consecutive baskets from sophomore Chaniah Pantry (New Haven, Conn.) pushed the advantage to 67-46 with 7:53 to play. A layup from Elms junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) gave the Blazers their largest lead of the contest, 75-50, at the 5:37 mark. Bay Path outscored 13-8 down the stretch, but jumpers from Soto and Shannon Cullen (Brookfield, Conn.) kept the Wildcats at bay as the Blazers wrapped up the 83-63 victory.
Marques powered the Blazers with her eighth double-double of the season, netting a team-high 23 points, shooting 11-of-16 from the field, with a game-high 17 rebounds. Pantry tallied 13 points with six rebounds and two blocks, while Burr added eight points with a game-high seven assists and three rebounds. LaRochelle chipped in seven rebounds, five assists and four points, and Soto grabbed a career-high eight rebounds in the win.
The Wildcats had three scorers in double figures, paced by double-double from Jackson with a game-high 26 points, 10 rebounds, and a game-high seven steals. Roy put up 14 points with four boards, and Bassett notched 11 points with three blocks and two rebounds. Senior Paige Marshall (New Britain, Conn.) snared 11 rebounds with four points off the bench.
The Blazers dominated the rebounding column, 65-39, and points in the paint, 62-28. Elms connected on 45.7% (37-of-81) from the floor, including 38.5% (5-of-13) from three-point range, and 30.8% (4-of-13) from the foul line. Bay Path shot 34.8% (24-of-69) from the field, 22.2% (2-of-9) from three-point, and 43.3% (13-of-30) from the free throw stripe.
The Blazers will look to continue their winning ways when they host Bridgewater State in non-conference action Monday at 7:00 p.m. Bay Path hosts Southern Vermont in conference play Thursday night at 6:00 p.m.