HOLYOKE, Mass.-The Wildcats of Bay Path hosted New England Collegiate Conference rival the Mountaineers of Southern Vermont on their final home game at the Bartley Arena during Senior Night festivities. The Wildcats with the help of three senior members' guard Christina Calabrese (Hamilton, N.J.), forward Jessica Hunt (Madison, Conn.) and center Kathleen Rodrigue (W. Stewartstown, N.H.) were able to grab their first conference victory in style downing the Mountaineers 55-48 tonight.
Calabrese led the way with the game high 16 points shelling out a collegiate career high five treys. She finished the game shooting a sizzling .714 (5-for-7) from down town.
The Mountaineers' sophomore guard Joa Claircius (Clermont, Fla.) tied high scorer with 16 points for the contest. She added four boards and four steals for her 37 minutes of play.
Bay Path was on fire under the boards outrebounding Southern Vermont by almost double pulling down 40 rebounds to 26 for the game. The Wildcats' Hunt and Rodrigue pulled down double figures at 16 and ten respectively.
Hunt, Bay Path's all-time leading scorer and rebounder, produced yet another in a long list of double doubles with 11 points and 16 rebounds. She came close to her second triple double dishing out the game-high seven assists. Hunt also pitched in four steals and two blocks for the "Maroon and White" hoopsters.
This barn-burner saw seven lead changes with Bay Path holding the lead most of the game. The Wildcats held their largest lead at 19:01 coming off the half with junior guard Katie Begin (Weare, N.H.) nailing a well dished toss from the key. Southern Vermont's largest lead was in the first half when Claircius nailed back to back fast break drives to the hoop.
While the score was knotted five times with Calabrese hammering down two from down town to get the score to 37-37 at 7:16 and answered again at 6:41 with the other three-pointer to take the scoreboard to 41-40.
The Mountaineers retaliated with freshman forward Christie Henry (Essex, Vt.) drawing the foul off a made lay-up. Henry proceeded to go 2-for-2 from the charity stripe and regain the lead 43-40. Henry finished with 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds. She also added two assists, two blocks and two steals.
Coming off the bench and providing a much needed spark for the Mountaineers was sophomore forward Rachell Pannell (Detroit, Mich.). Pannell would hit one free-throw to push the score to 44-40 for the green.
Sophomore forward Nadine Harkless (Westfield,
Mass.) would pull it back to a one bucket deficit for the
Wildcats after nailing two from the line at 4:01 left in regulation
time. Harkless played with a lot of heart this game finishing with
12 points, four boards and four assists.
Harkless then dished a nice ball to Calabrese who would again work her magic downtown and nail a much needed and pivotal shot for the Wildcats. Gaining the lead 45-44, Bay Path would not go gently and never looked back.
Despite some foul trouble, Bay Path was able to do something they have not been able to get right during conference play and that was hitting their shots finishing 21-for-53 from the field with their best percentage at 39.6% for their campaign.
Two other key factors in the victory included freshman guard Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) putting up six points and four assists for her 28 minutes of play. Sophomore guard Megan Caputo (Springfield, Mass.) despite only seeing two minutes of court time provided a much needed spark nailing a shot after a little drought by Bay Path.
Bay Path improves to their best record in a few seasons of 4-13 and their first NECC win of 1-8, while Southern Vermont falls to 3-15 overall and 2-8 in conference play. The only senior not seeing time tonight was starting forward Ashley Cimmino (Westfield, Mass.) due to a possible ankle injury.
Bay Path will be back in action on Ground Hog Day -Tuesday, February 2nd travelling the Wheelock for a 5:00 p.m. conference match-up, Southern Vermont will also be on the road facing top Daniel Webster at a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.