Gulls Fall to UNE on Senior Night
BEVERLY, Mass. – Nicole Heffernan (Londonderry, N.H.), who was honored before the game as the Endicott women's basketball team's lone senior, scored twelve points but Endicott was unable to overcome to Nor'easters of the University of New England, falling 71-59 on Tuesday night at MacDonald Gymnasium.
In a game with possible postseason seeding implications for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) tournament, Endicott (15-9, 12-5 CCC) stayed with the visitors for much of the game but could not convert on several chances to get their noses in front. The Nor'easters move to 20-4 overall and sweep the season series from Endicott, meanwhile remaining at the top of the CCC standings with a 15-2 conference mark.
Heffernan and fellow co-captain Jen McBrien (Medfield, Mass.) each dropped twelve points on the evening, while Endicott sophomore Jen White (Lisbon, N.H.) tallied a double-double with a team-high 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Endicott tied the game twice in the second half and took a one-point lead with eleven and a half minutes to play, but were unable to stop the firepower of UNE's Kelly Coleman (Portland, Conn.) and Kari Pelletier (South Paris, Maine). Coleman scored 13 of her game-high 19 points after halftime, while Pelletier poured in 11 points in the game, nine of them in the second half.
Heffernan twice sank three-pointers in the second half to pull the Gulls back into the game, but with seven and a half minutes to play, Coleman and Pelletier started a 16-6 run that gave UNE a 12-point lead. Junior Beth Suggs (Bath, Maine) was a key contributor for the Nor'easters, dishing out 4 assists in each half to lead all players. Suggs also collected two blocks and two steals for the Nor'easters, while Pelletier had a game-high five thefts.
After Endicott led by a slim 6-2 margin to start the game, UNE used two quick fast-break layups and three-pointers by Margo Russell (Madison, Maine) and Kelly Paradis (Newport, Maine) to go on on a 12-0 run and open up a 14-6 advantage. Four straight points by Coleman gave UNE their biggest lead of the half, an 11-point advantage at 21-10 with under ten minutes left in the period. Heffernan then converted a layup and a free throw and created another scoring opportunity when she stole the ball and fed sophomore guard Ashley Walenta (Plainfield, Conn.), who knocked down a jumper.
Two free-throws by Walenta and another layup from Heffernan got the Gulls back to within two points, but Paradis and Russell combined to quickly give UNE breathing room by opening the lead back up to 7 points (28-21). Endicott would get back into striking distance with a 9-2 run to close the half, capped by a running layup at the buzzer by White, sending the Gulls into the break down just a point, at 30-29.
Heffernan also dished out three assists for the game and freshman Kayleen Whall (Foxboro, Mass.) led the Gulls with three steals. McBrien grabbed seven rebounds to go with her 12 points.
For UNE, Coleman and Pelletier combined to shoot 12-16 from the floor and were a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line. Suggs had a double-double of her own with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Russell also was in double-digits with 11 points, with Paradis adding eight points herself.
The Gulls were outrebounded 39-35 by UNE who shot 43% for the game to just 35% for the Gulls. UNE also made life difficult for Endicott under the basket, blocking five shots, while the Gulls failed to record a block for the second time all season. The first time was Endicott's 63-59 loss to the same Nor'easters on January 19th.
Endicott did shoot 14-15 from the free-throw line (93.3%), making all seven of their first half attempts.
UNE head coach Anthony Ewing, who is in his fifth season with the Nor'easters, picked up his 100th win with the victory. Ewing is now 100-38 in his career at UNE.
Endicott will end their regular season with a road test on Saturday. The Gulls will travel to Quincy, Mass. for a 1:00 pm tip-off against Eastern Nazarene College.
UNE will return home to close out their regular season against Western New England at the same time.