UNE withstands rally, topping Golden Bears in OT

More news about: University of New England
BIDDEFORD, Maine -- The University of New England saw its 4th-quarter advantage of 13 points disappear against Western New England University, but the hosts never trailed in overtime and registered a 68-66 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) women's basketball win on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 23) at the Harold Alfond Forum.

With their eighth consecutive result, the Nor'easters (13-3) remain unbeaten in the CCC at 10-0. It was the 16th straight meeting between the teams that UNE had downed the Golden Bears (9-8, 6-4 CCC).

Between late in the 3rd and the early stages of the 4th, Big Blue went on an 18-6 run to gain a 55-42 cushion with just over eight minutes left. Olivia Shaw had nine points in the stretch.

WNE countered with a 16-1 spurt in a span of 5:35, largely behind a trio of trifectas by Emily Anderson. Chelsea Vujs capped the turnaround with a pair of free throws to go up 58-56 with 1:36 on the clock.

After empty trips each way, UNE's Alicia Brown dropped in a lay-up with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it up at 58-all. Three missed shots by the Golden Bears and a turnover by both squads in the waning ticks sent to game to an extra session.

The Nor'easters netted three freebies to get out in front, and a triple by Meghan Gribbin made it 64-58 less than a minute into the bonus period. The gap was still five before Dorothy O'Neill scored on three baskets in-a-row for WNE to level things at 65-all.

Brown knocked down a jumper on the ensuing play to put UNE back ahead with 59 seconds to go. The Golden Bears only got one point (O'Neill) out of three shots and two free throws on a lengthy possession to cut it to 67-66, and UNE converted just 1-of-4 at the line in the last eight seconds to leave the door open. However, the visitors' last-chance to extend things with a corner jumper at the buzzer was off the mark. 

Pacing the Nor'easters was Brown with 20 points, a game-best nine rebounds, and four blocks. Shaw added 15 points on 5-of-7 field goals, while Gribbin and Alanna Vose buried four triples apiece to end with 13 and 12, respectively.

Western New England was led by O'Neill with 18 points, and her six assists shared the game-high with Gribbin. Sammie Olson and Anderson -- who sat most of the 1st half due to foul trouble -- contributed 14 each and combined to go 8-for-11 from deep. Vujs finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.

Anderson opened the contest with a trey, but UNE drained four from long range and shot 56 percent from the floor to grab a 22-13 cushion at the end of the 1st. Both sides cooled off in the 2nd, collectively shooting 22 percent, and the home team held a 30-25 edge at intermission. Brown tallied 14 of her points in the stanza.

The poor conversion rate on field goals by the Golden Bears continued after halftime (8 of 32), but WNE made up ground on its opponent (+8) with a 12-for-12 performance at the charity stripe.