Kaleigh Anderson (@KaleighAnd1)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College women's basketball team captured an intense New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) victory over the host Newbury Nighthawks, 54-51, at Pappas Gymnasium Thursday evening. With the win, the Blazers rise to 9-8 overall and 7-3 in conference action while Newbury drops to 5-12 on the season and 5-6 in the NECC.
Play started off slow for both squads as each team sought after missed opportunities in the opening minutes of action. The Blazers were able to crack the scoreboard first at the 7:58 time slot as sophomore Chaniah Pantry (New Haven, Conn.) connected off the glass for the initial two. From there Elms would embark on a nine point stint headed by Pantry with three scores. Junior Destiny Spears (Arnold, Md.) led the charge for Newbury capturing the first three scores of the contest for the Nighthawks. Despite the initial Elms momentum Spears would keep play alive for Newbury posting a jumper at 1:47 followed by a fast break layup to initiate a 9-8 Elms scoreboard. With seconds remaining in the first sophomore Isabelle Pafford (Greenland, N.H.) would harness a buzzer beating three-point bullet to send Newbury into the second ahead by two.
Newbury continued to lengthen their lead to start the second with Spears ringing in another score. Elms would combat with a freshmen Kayla Soto (New Britain, Conn.) production off the backboard to send the back and forth contest onto its next spin. At the 6:51 marker Senior Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) would come up big for Elms tallying her first three of the evening to keep Elms within one. From there junior Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) would produce back to back tallies to create a 20-17 Elms scoreboard. Burr would keep momentum rolling knotting her second three onto the board at 1:55 as Elms eventually walked into the locker room owning a 28-27 scoreboard.
Tensions were high at the start of the third with sophomore Savannah Olsen (Creek, Mich.) posting the first tally from the charity stripe a little over a minute into action. From there senior Alexandra Marques (Newington, Conn.) would connect inside the paint followed by a freshmen Molly Moulton (North Adams, Mass.) layup to keep Elms in control. The Blazers would continue on a nine point run holding Newbury off the scoreboard until 4:49 when Olsen connected off the glass for the easy two. Burr once again showed her prominence on the court producing her third three of the evening at the 3:40 time slot. However Newbury would capitalize on Blazer errors tallying their next six digits at the charity stripe to keep in the running. Nevertheless Elms would head into the fourth ahead 42-40.
Freshmen Rachel Granger (Hamden, Mass.) secured the first bucket of the ending quarter two minutes into play to which Newbury answered with a Spears layup. Burr once again found success at three point range in turn creating a 47-42 score. LaRochelle would continue on in the scoring column for Elms going 4-for -4 at the stripe to aid in securing the Blazer victory.
Burr powered the Blazers with her first career double-double, netting 16 points, going 4-for-8 from three point range, alongside a career-high 10. LaRochelle went 6-for-10 from the charity stripe posting 14 points with eight rebounds and five assists. Marques collected nine points with nine rebounds in the win.
Newbury saw 19 points off the hands of Olsen as she collected team highs in points as well as rebounds collecting a game-high 23 on the evening. Spears totaled 15 points and 18 rebounds in the effort.
Elms connected on 27.1% (19-70) from the floor and 54.5% (12-of-22) from the foul line. Newbury shot 26.9% (18-of-67) from the field and 65.0% (13-of-20) from the free throw stripe.
The Blazers will look to remain in the win column as they play host to Mitchell College for a New England Collegiate Conference matchup Saturday, January 28th for a 4:00 p.m. tip. Newbury will travel to Becker College January 28th for a 3:00 p.m. contest.