Newbury Upsets Elms, 77-63; Picks Up First Victory over Blazers
The Newbury College women's basketball team did something that they have never done in program history Saturday afternoon: defeat Elms College and snap their seven game win streak in the process. Junior center Catherine O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.) had a monster day notching a team-high 18 points while ripping down 20 boards in the victory in the Nighthawks' 77-63 victory.
Atoning for an eight point loss in their first meeting of the year, the Nighthawks set the tone of the game early and took advantage of the Blazers' slow start, jumping out to a 13-3 run. Senior guard Morganna Machado (Attleboro, Mass.) was lethal from beyond the arc knocking down three-of-five for 15 of her team-high 18 points while the tandem of O'Connell and sophomore forward Katie Haney (Winchendon, Mass.) kept the conference's leading scorer, Elms' standout freshman Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.), in check for the majority of the half.
However, the Blazers were 11-1 in the conference entering the afternoon and were not going to go away quietly. After Parks knocked down one of two free throws midway through the period to cut the deficit to eight, the Nighthawks kept the pressure on, responding with an 11-0 run that lasted over three minutes.
It was a see-saw battle for the remainder of the period as the Blazers were trying to storm their way back. When it appeared as if the wind started to shift toward Elms late in the half, first year center Jamie Vankoeverden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was there to swing momentum back with a monstrous offensive board and put-back to give the Nighthawks the 18-point lead back.
When the teams returned to the court in the second half, there was no let down. The Blazers were still trying to make up for their slow start while the Nighthawks continued to pour it on offensively. After Machado cooled off in the second, classmate Shayla White (Dorchester, Mass.) stepped up. Draining a long distance trey 2:23 into the half to push the lead back to 18, White dominated the period tallying 13 of her game-high 18 points.
Midway through the half, O'Connell gave the Nighthawks their largest lead of the game, finishing off the three point play from the charity stripe, after ripping down an offensive rebound to give Newbury the 65-42 lead. However, the Blazers were not dead yet, responding with a 21-7 run, lasting nearly seven minutes to cut the deficit to single digits.
But it was a little too late. Freshman guard Nephie Marsh (Brockton, Mass.) came through in the clutch. With a minute left in the game, Marsh pushed the lead back to double figures netting both of her free throws while Haney and senior guard Kendra Bannister(Washington, D.C.) sealed their first victory Elms going three-for-four from the line.
The Nighthawks improve to 11-9 and 8-4 in the conference while Elms drops to 14-6 and 11-2 in the NECC. Newbury will look to push their win streak to three games and take the season series against nearby rival Wheelock College. Tip-off's at 7:30 p.m.
Elms never led in the contest and there was only one tie coming 2:21 into the contest when Blazer freshman Gianna Youngblood (East Freetown, Mass.) tied up the score at two…Newbury is 6-2 at home and have not lost a game at home since losing to non-conference Albertus Magnus back on November 29th…Nephie Marsh's 14 points off the bench helped the Nighthawks' bench outscore the Blazers' bench, 16-9…The Newbury bench outscored the Elms bench, 14-1 in the first half and 25-16 in the game.