Newbury Women's Basketball Makes NECC History with Upset over Wheelock

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BOSTON – The seventh-seeded Newbury College women's basketball team made New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) history with their 75-67 victory over the second-seed Wheelock College, Tuesday evening.

Since going to the seven-team format in five years ago, a seventh-seed had never defeated a second-seed. Until tonight, where the Nighthawks' eight-point upset over the Wildcats is sending them to NECC Semifinals for the first time since the 2011-12 season where they will tip-off against third-seed, Mitchell College this Friday night at Regis College in Weston, Mass.

First year guard Tina Babcock (Ayer, Mass.) was the spark-plug for the Nighthawk offense, coming off the bench, netting a team-high 16 points in just 17 minutes. Babcock was nearly perfect from the outside, draining a season-best four-of-five from beyond the arc.

A thrilling back-and-forth affair featuring19 lead changes and 10 ties, was filled with excellent shooting and a fast-paced offense where neither team was able to pull away.  Wheelock led 18-17 after the first, Newbury took a 37-36 edge into the break, but the home team was up 49-48 headed into the final period.

After the Nighthawks' first year forward Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) hit one-of-two from the line to tie the score at 49 a piece, the Wildcats netted lay-ups on back-to-back possessions to claim a 53-49 advantage. From there, the visitors began to take charge.

With 8:40 remaining in the contest, Newbury embarked on a 12-0 surge starting with an Olsen bucket in the paint and capped by a trey from senior guard Katelyn Roeser (Nashua, N.H.) to put the visitors up 61-53.

Wheelock's junior forward Michelle Woods (Wilmington, Mass.) stopped the bleeding with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut the deficit to 61-56 at the 4:19 mark. Still, Newbury continued to pull away.  One of Babcock's four treys in the game pushed the lead back to eight. Following a pair of free throws by Woods, the Nighthawks earned their largest lead of the game with a jumper from sophomore forward Destiny Spears (Arnold, Md.) and two freebies by Roeser to make it 68-58.

The Wildcats were able to cut their deficit to 73-67 with 48 seconds remaining but would not get any closer as the Nighthawks iced the win from the charity stripe.

Newbury also saw four players reach double-digit scoring. Babcock and Spears each netted 16 while senior guard Jovanna Sandifer (Boston, Mass.) had 15 and Roeser added 12. Babcock came off the bench and shot 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. Spears shared team-high honors with Olsen as they both pulled down eight rebounds. Roeser had a game-high eight assists.

Wheelock featured four starters in double-figures led by Woods who recorded a double-double with game-highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. Junior guards Jaime Grzych (Columbia, Conn.) and Brianna Hochwarter (Attleboro, Mass.) each added 11 points while Kayla Corshia (Medway, Mass.) chipped in 10. Rookie forward Katie Walsh (East Islip, N.Y.) just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds (four offensive). Grzych dished out a squad-best four assists. 

Game Notes: 

Past #2 Seed vs. #7 Seeds:

2015: #2 Elms College def. #7 Daniel Webster College, 86-48
2014: #2 Elms College def. #7 Wheelock College, 79-57
2013: #2 Elms College def. #7 Mitchell College, 72-48
2012: #2 Elms College def. #7 Bay Path University, 62-51 

DYK: Denisha Parks has been involved in every single #2-seed vs. #7-seed match up since 2011-12...