First-year basketball players; Yakira Edwards and Nyasia Reeves and Head Coach, Kirk Murad began their careers leading the "Wildcats" to a 56-47 season opening win over Mount Holyoke College. The win ends a 23 game losing streak and is the first opening game win since 2015.
Story contribution courtesy of the Mount Holyoke Sports Information Department
SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Three players reached double figures in leading Bay Path University to a 56-47 victory over Mount Holyoke College in the season opener for both teams on Thursday. Pacing the effort for the 1-0 Wildcats were first year guard Yakira Edwards (Waterbury, Conn./Kennedy) and sophomore guard Emmeline Bronson (Shelton, Conn./Shelton), both of whom notched a game-high 15 points.
In addition to Edwards and Bronson, rookie forward Nyasia Reeves (Peekskill, N.Y./Putnam Valley) added her first collegiate double-double with 13 points and a game-best 17 rebounds. Senior forward Samantha Drapinski (Malden, Mass./Malden) added four points with 11 boards, while classmate and captain Haleigh Bassett (Millers Falls, Mass./Turners Falls) had nine points with six boards.
For Mount Holyoke, senior guard and captain Leah Hodges (New Haven, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) and rookie forward Annika Brooks(Portland, Maine/Waynflete) each posted 14 points. Brooks notched her first collegiate double-double with 10 rebounds and five steals, while Hodges added seven rebounds and a game-best six steals. Senior captain and guard Zahkeyah Allen (Philadelphia, Pa./Freire Charter School) and sophomore guard Raquel Fitzpatrick (Providence, R.I./Providence Country Day School) each had five points.
After a slow start in the opening quarter, the Lyons moved ahead by an 11-6 margin with just 2:35 to play as Allen buried a free throw. Despite the momentum, the visiting Wildcats powered back as Bassett nailed a three-pointer to tie the score at 11-all heading into the second frame.
Consecutive points from Bronson, who nailed and jumper and one of two free throws, helped Bay Path to a 14-11 lead in the second, but the homestanding Lyons countered as a jumper from Brooks with 7:29 to play pushed MHC ahead 15-14. It was a back-and-forth battle from that point as Hodges sank a jumper to tie it at 21-all with 4:36 to go before the half.
A pair of makes at the charity stripe from Edwards helped push Bay Path back into the lead and the Wildcats headed into halftime with a 31-27 advantage in the contest.
The third period saw Bay Path continue to control play, moving ahead by a 42-27 margin after an Edwards jumper with 4:20 left on the clock. Brooks sank a pair of buckets over the final 27 seconds, but the Lyons still faced a 46-37 deficit after 30 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats maintained solid ball control and saw Edwards sink a shot at 5:35 to push the lead to 51-39. A shot from Brooks answered for the Lyons, but the Wildcats continued to deny the MHC offense to earn the victory.
Mount Holyoke returns to action on Saturday when it hosts Southern Vermont College at 1pm at the Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium. Bay Path is back on the court next Wednesday (11/14) in a 7pm game at the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.).