MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- The Bridgewater State University women's basketball team improved to 5-0 on the season as the Bears defeated Vassar College, 72-64, in the first round of the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament hosted by Wesleyan University on Friday evening.
Host Wesleyan cruised past Keystone, 71-29, in their first round matchup to set up a battle of the unbeatens in the tournament championship game Saturday at 3 p.m. Keystone and Vassar meet in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
Junior forward Shelly DePina (New Bedford, Mass.) paced Bridgewater with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals. Junior forward Monica Sabina-Bharoocha (North Smithfield, R.I.) added 14 points and three steals, while sophomore guard Elisha Homich (Ludlow, Mass.) and senior guard Brittany Chappron (Braintree, Mass.) both connected for double-digits with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Vassar had the game's leading scorer in freshman Cyndi Matsuoka with 18 points followed by junior Brittany Parks with 17. Each had seven rebounds as well, edged by both senior Carolyn Crampton and Senftleber with eight apiece.
Bridgewater led 33-30 at the intermission. Vassar would knot the game at 39-39 with 16:42 remaining in the second half before eight straight Bridgewater points, four from sophomore forward Michaela Cosby (Walpole, Mass.), finished off a 10-0 run, giving the Bears a 47-39 lead they would never relinquish.
Though Bridgewater enlarged the lead to a game-high 11 at 54-43 with 11:43 to go, the Brewers narrowed the gap to five, 55-50, then got as close as three, 59-56, with 4:25 to go on an inside bucket by freshman Hannah Senftleber. But the Bears answered with a quick 9-1 run to again make it an 11-point game with 2:20 to play, as freshman forward Megan Boutilette (Charlton, Mass.) started and finished the run with a basket. Vassar got no closer than six before Bridgewater closed it out for the 72-64 triumph.
Saturday's championship between Wesleyan and Bridgewater will be just the third meeting of the two teams. Last year, the Bears won at home, 73-68, while the Cardinals were victorious on a neutral court (Eastern Conn.) during the first meeting in 2004, 61-42.