NEWTON, MA- After a close 40 minutes of Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball action between Lasell College and Rivier College, the Raiders came out victorious, 52-45, at the final buzzer.
Prior to the start of the contest, Lasell held a ceremony to honor Katie Farr (Rindge, NH) and Tracy Elwell (Watertown, MA) – the program's two seniors who played in their final contest for the Blue & White today. Farr, a four year member of the women's basketball team, concluded her career with 703 points, 304 rebounds, 224 assists, and 108 steals. Elwell, new to the program this season, finished the year with career totals of 66 points, 54 rebounds, 16 steals, and 13 assists.
The Raiders victory was in large part due to the tremendous effort by junior guard Amanda Purcell (Hudson, NH) who scored exactly half of Rivier's total points. Purcell went 6-for-11 from the floor, and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc, while scoring 100% (8-8) at the free throw line to complete her 26 point performance. Purcell also added seven rebounds in her labors. Freshman guard Erin Sweeney (Chicopee, MA) added nine points for Rivier and Jackie Penniman (Dudley, MA) collected eight boards in the win.
Sophomore forward Kim Archibald (Lewiston, ME) led for the Lasers with her sixth double-double of the season. Archibald tallied 12 points, adding 10 rebounds, along with three steals, two assists and a block. JoAnna Bishop (So. Burlington, VT) recorded eight points and nine boards in a losing effort for Lasell and Kayla Vincelette (Westport, MA) chipped in with seven points.
Farr grabbed eight rebounds for the Lasers in her final contest, while Elwell matched six points and six caroms in her last game.
Lasell came out on a 14-8 tear through the first seven minutes, connecting on 5-of-9 (55.6%) chances through that time period, while the Raiders hit on 3-of-8 (37.5%) attempts.
Two three pointers by Purcell and a bucket in the paint by Sweeney gave the Raiders their first lead (16-14) in over seven minutes at 9:56, but a basket by Vincelette thirty seconds later evened the score. Shortly thereafter, a hoop by Elwell put the Lasers back on top, but their advancement was short-lived as the Raiders opened up their three-game with long-balls from Sweeney and Purcell which gave the visitors a four point margin, 22-18, at the 6:31 mark.
With 2:29 left to play in the first half, Archibald sliced through the lane to bring Lasell within two points, 26-24. A steal by Elwell with 1:25 on the clock lead to a fast break bucket for the senior and a one point margin in the contest, 27-26. The Lasers gained possession in the final 30 seconds and Farr was sent to the line with the chance to take the lead. The senior put in the first to tie the score, and an offensive rebound by Elwell on the second gave the Lasers the final chance to score with 7.7 left in the half. Unfortunately, though Lasell got two chances off the offensive grab, neither fell, and the teams broke for halftime in a 27-all tie.
Purcell was on target in the half, finishing with 16 points and scoring on 80% (4-5) of her attempts from distance and 100% (4-4) from the line. Sweeney had six points at the break for the Raiders and Ryan Baker (Whitinsville, MA) aided to the visitors quest with five rebounds.
As a team, Rivier shot just 25% (13-34) in the frame while Lasell connected on 38.2% of their shot attempts. The Lasers were led by Bishop, Archibald, and Elwell with six points each, while Ashley Slattery (Weymouth, MA) and Vincelette added four each.
At the 18:30 mark of the second half, Purcell drained her fifth three-pointer of the contest to start of scoring in the period. Slattery followed by netted a pair of foul shots at 16:38 to keep Lasell just one point away from Rivier, 30-29.
After nearly two minutes of scoreless basketball, Archibald pulled down an offensive rebound and put-back a shot to give Lasell the advantage, 31-30. Vincelette added the second in a set of freebies to add to the Lasers' edge, however, Purcell answered with her sixth three-pointer at 13:44 to reestablish the Raiders slim advantage, 33-32.
After another three-plus minute drought on both sides, Karen Waterman (Rutland, VT) produced a steal and a breakaway for Rivier at 10:31, and Sweeney converted on one-of-two at the stripe for a 36-32 edge with 10 minutes left to play.
At 8:18, Rivier had expanded their lead to six, but the Lasers kept fighting to stay in the contest. Vincelette powered to the hoop for two at 6:45, making the score 42-38 and on the defensive end the Lasers were tough on the glass not allowing the Raiders second-chance shots.
With under five minutes to play, Farr ripped across the baseline to lay in a bucket and Bishop hit a deep baseline shot with one second left on the shot clock, and the teams found themselves tied at 42-all.
The back-and-forth continued as Baker connected on two layups for the Raiders by the three minute mark, putting the score at 46-42, but a free throw by Farr and a hoop by Archibald, as she penetrated from the top of the key through the lane, made it a one point game with one minute to go.
Purcell was hit on her way to the hoop and knocked down a couple of freebies to put three points between them and the hosts, 48-45, and with 53 just seconds to go and Lasell was forced to foul. With 18.9 seconds on the clock, Purcell was sent to the stripe for another two, netting both. Lasell pulled up for a three pointer on their end but were unable to connect. With five seconds left, Penniman added to the Raiders final score with two additional free throws.
The Lasers held a slight edge on the glass in the game, 45-43, and outshot the Raiders from the floor, connecting on 7-of-24 (29.2%) while Rivier hit on 7-27 (25.9%), but it was the three-point game and foul shots that gave the visitors the extra boost. Rivier went 2-10 from downtown in the second half, while Lasell went 0-3, and the Raiders shot 8-23 (34.8%) at the line, while Lasell went 0-5.
The contest marks the last of the season for the Lasers who complete the year with a 1-24 record overall, and a 0-12 conference slate. The Raiders improve to 7-18 overall and 5-7 in the league.