NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College women's basketball team shot a season-high 50 percent en route to an 84-72 victory over Bay Path College on Tuesday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
All five Mitchell starters scored in double figures led by a game-high 25 points from freshman Sheanna James. The rookie turned in her fourth straight 20-point performance on 12-for-20 shooting and added seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals in 37 minutes. Kayla Skiffington led Bay Path with 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting and finished with a game-high 18 rebounds and seven assists.
Bay Path (6-15 overall, 6-11 NECC) was hot out of the gate, connecting on its first five shots to jump out to a 13-4 lead in the opening minutes. The Wildcats moved the ball around well and had four different players score a basket during the stretch, with Skiffington leading the way with five early points.
Mitchell (7-16 overall, 6-11 NECC) quickly made up the deficit behind a 10-2 run over the next two minutes. Freshman Zilka Navarro was the catalyst, hitting three shots and scoring seven points during the spurt as the Mariners clawed back to within a point at 15-14.
Just over two minutes later, Mitchell went ahead on a jumper by James and never looked back. The Mariners used a 16-2 run to extend the lead to double digits and led 30-19 with 6:20 to go in the half following another basket by James, who scored nine points in the stretch and 15 in the stanza.
Mitchell led by as many as 18 points before taking a 43-28 lead into the locker room at the half. Brittney Alexander had 12 points at the break to pace the Wildcats.
The Mariners never let their lead dip below double digits in the second half and coasted to victory. Bay Path fought hard to close the gap to 11 with 47 seconds left to play but couldn't get any closer.
Mitchell hit 10 three-pointers in the contest, half of which came from junior Kaylee Cerruto who finished with 23 points. Senior Bianca Young recorded a double-double with 13 points and a team-high 10 rebounds while Navarro and classmate Hannah Smith chipped in with 10 points each. Navarro also handed out a season-high eight assists.
Brittney Alexander finished with 16 points and five assists while freshman Toni Alexander added 10 points and five helpers. Taylor Riley rounded out the Bay Path players in double figures with 12 points.
The win was crucial for Mitchell's chances at earning a postseason berth. The Mariners moved into a tie with Bay Path and Southern Vermont College for sixth place in the New England Collegiate Conference standings with one game to play. All three teams own 6-11 conference marks, though only two will qualify for the upcoming NECC Championship. Mitchell split the regular season series against Southern Vermont and won both meetings against Bay Path.
Mitchell will close out the regular season at home against Becker College on Saturday, February 18 at 2 p.m.