HOLYOKE, Mass. -- Mitchell College was edged 51-50 at Bay Path College on Tuesday night in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball action tonight at the Bartley Center.
Bay Path's Toni Alexander led all players with a season-high 17 points and added six rebounds and six assists. Despite trailing most of the game, the Wildcats rallied late and won by one free throw from Kayla Skiffington in the final five seconds.
Mitchell controlled most of the game and held a 26-19 advantage at halftime. Coming out of the break, freshman Diamond Thomas sparked the Mariners with three buckets in the first few minutes to put her team up by eight points. Alexander then hit her first three-pointer of the game with 18:06 on the clock.
Brittney Alexander's first trey knotted the game at 36-36 with 10:05 left on the clock. Gladys Reed kept it going with a much needed block and defensive rebound before giving Bay Path the lead with a lay-up.
Mitchell answered back off a three-pointer by senior Suzie Barbosa. Toni Alexander then hit her second shot from downtown with 6:35 to go. Junior Kate Mulloy responded by hitting three jumpers, and freshman Amanda Garcia followed with a bucket of her own. Trailing 47-41 with under five minutes of play, Wildcats head coach Jill Shaw called a pivotal time-out for the home team.
At 2:31 the tides changed when Toni Alexander nailed her third and final trey off a great pass from Brittney Alexander. Still down by four points, the Wildcats used a full-court press to dishevel the Mariners offense. On Bay Path's next possession, Toni Alexander took it herself and drove to the basket to pull the Wildcats to within two.
With 1:06 remaining, Toni Alexander made a pair of crucial free throws to tie the game at 48-48.
Garcia answered with a lay-up to push the Mariners back ahead, but Skiffington did the same to tie it once again with 40 ticks left on the clock. After two unsuccessful attempts by the Mariners, Justine Hook pulled down a huge defensive board. Garcia then fouled Skiffington with five seconds remaining in the contest.
Skiffington hit her first from the charity stripe to put Bay Path up by a point. She missed the second free throw, but Brittney Alexander came away with a huge offensive rebound to prevent a final possession for the Mariners.
Garcia led the Mariners with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Thomas finished with 10 points.
Skiffington had 13 points and nine rebounds. Hook had nine points and five boards, while Reed had seven rebounds. Katherine Chabot added four points, four rebounds and four assists.
Bay Path improved to 9-6 on the season and 6-3 in NECC play. Mitchell dropped to 3-12 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
Mitchell will next host Regis College on Saturday, January 26 at 1 p.m.