Dudley, MA --- Junior Shannen El-Qasem (Rutland, MA) collected a game-best 19 points and added 10 rebounds to lead Worcester State past Fitchburg State, 54-47, in MASCAC women's basketball action this evening from the Athletic Center at Nichols College.
With the victory the Lancers improve to 5-6 in league play and 9-15 overall while the Falcons drop to 6-5 in the MASCAC and 13-10 on the season in the setback.
WSU was also paced offensively by senior Meaghan Burns (W. Brookfield, MA) who turned in a double-digit effort with 16 points.
Fitchburg State was led by senior Amy Fahey (Wilmington, MA) who netted 14 points and corralled 10 boards and junior Laura Cote (Ashby, MA) dropped in nine points and registered five steals.
Sophomore classmates Tori Cyrus (Everett, MA) and Andreya DeSousa (Taunton, MA) each added seven points off the bench for the visitors.
After sophomore Cheyenne Jennings (Worcester, MA) was able to dial one in from long range to give the hosts a 5-4 lead at the 16:34 mark of the opening half, Fitchburg State seized control and never trailed for the remainder of the first frame.
The Falcons pulled ahead by as much as eight on two occasions after a trifecta by DeSousa with 4:40 to play and when Fahey drained a pair from the charity stripe 90 ticks later.
Sophomore Julie Frankian (Millbury, MA) netted a free throw at the 2:40 mark and El-Qasem connected on a jumper with 30 seconds remaining to send the Lancers into the locker room with momentum and a 28-23 contest.
The Blue and Gold then used a 9-2 run to open the final stanza to grab the 34-30 lead with 13:40 left on the clock. Burns highlighted the spurt with six points.
Fitchburg State answered with an 11-2 buldge of their own capped off with a three-pointer by Cyrus midway through the second half giving the Falcons the 41-36 cushion.
WSU grabbed the 42-41 margin back after Jennings sank a jumper at the 6:34 mark, but it was short lived as a Fahey layup and a pair of free-throws by sophomore Erika Schneider (Rockland, MA) gave the visitors a 45-42 edge with five minutes remaining.
El-Qasem and Payne then traded baskets as Fitchburg State maintained their three-point cushion with 3:19 remaining (47-44).
However, Worcester State scored the final 10 points of the contest including the eventual game-winning basket by Burns with 1:29 to play for the 48-47 advantage.
Frankian sealed the win with four consecutive makes from the charity stripe for the final score.
Worcester State shot 34 percent from the field (21-for-61) while Fitchburg State managed just 29 percent (18-for-63).
The Lancers held slim margins in rebounds (46-42), second chance points (14-8), and points off turnovers (14-8) while the Falcons held the advantage in fast break buckets (18-4) and each team collected 24 points in the paint.
Both squads will wrap up regular season play on Saturday at 1 PM as the Blue and Gold travel to Framingham State while Fitchburg State heads to Westfield State.
Story By John Hanna --- Sports Information Graduate Assistant