HOLYOKE, Mass. - Bay Path College freshman guard Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) led all players with 21 points for her collegiate debut helping the Wildcats defeat the Gators of Pine Manor College 73-62 in their home opener tonight at the Bartley Arena in NCAA Division III women's basketball action.
Senior captain and forward Jessica Hunt (Madison, Conn.) notched a tremendous double double grabbing 19 points with 16 boards. Hunt chipped in one block and a game-high five steals. Alexander shot 46% (6-of-13) from the field including 67% (2-of-3) from behind the arc. Hunt shot 39% from the court while hammering down nine of 12 from the charity stripe.
Pine Manor was led by sophomore forward Stacie Beauford (Baltimore, Md.). Beauford tallied 15 points, 11 rebounds and four steals despite the tough loss. Two other Gators hit double figures including freshman forward Tia Nelson (Rockport, Mass.) with 11 points and two treys while sophomore forward Paulette Wright (Baltimore, Md.) finished with ten points and six rebounds.
Senior forward Ashley Cimmino (Westfield, Mass.) also made a strong contribution to the Wildcats offensive attack totaling 15 points including one three-pointer, three rebounds and three steals.
Hunt started the attack coming off the jump-ball taking it to the hoop for the first basket, the score flip-flopped the first four minutes of play with two lead changes and two knotted scores with the Wildcats finally taking control of the lead at 14:55. Senior center Kathleen Rodrigue (W. Stewartstown, N.H.) hit a free throw to grab the lead 8-7 and Bay Path never looked back.
The Wildcats had a great spark in the final minutes of the first half with junior guard Katie Begin (Weare, N.H.) hitting a fast break lay-up after a steal by Hunt and a long pass to Begin. Sophomore first-year forward Nadine Harkless (Westfield, Mass.) proceeded to take the ball away in the next possession, while Alexander nailed a trey to put the "Maroon and White" hoopsters up by 14 points (33-19) with under a minute left of the half.
Cimmino would lead the run in the second-half with back-to-back buckets including a three-pointer to notch the game's biggest margin. Advantage went to Bay Path by 17 points at 9:38 left in regulation playing time.
The Gators would try a last ditch effort to make a comeback in the final minutes shortening the lead by five points at 1:29 left on the clock. Wright led the effort for Pine Manor nailing back-to-back lay-ups.
Coming off the bench Harkless finished with eight points and five boards. Key Reservist senior guard Christina Calabrese (Hamilton, N.J.) had five rebounds, four assists and two points.
Bay Path out-hustled Pine Manor under the glass with 55 rebounds to the Gators 47 boards. The Wildcats led from the charity-stripe finishing with a 60.4% for the game, while the Gators had a hard time at the free-throw line shooting 47.1% for the foul fest. Both teams combined for 56 fouls. Five players hit the bench early fouling out for the forty minutes of play.
Bay Path is now 1-0 on the season, while Pine Manor falls to a 0-1 start. The Wildcats will be on the road on Wednesday, November 18 for a 7:00 p.m. start against Albertus Magnus.