WESTON, Mass. – Brittany Stone (West Bridgewater, Mass.) tallied a double-double, 17 points and 11 rebounds as the #10 regionally-ranked Regis College women's basketball team defeated Elms College 60-40 in the New England Collegiate Conference Semifinals Friday night on Higgins Court in front of a sold out crowd. The victory propelled the #1 ranked Pride to their fourth straight NECC title game and a 23-3 record; the loss ended the #4 Blazers campaign at 15-12.
Regis will host #7 Newbury College tomorrow with tip-off slated for 2:00 p.m. In the second contest this evening, Newbury upset #3 Mitchell 55-51, which sends the Nighthawks to their first NECC Championship Game in program history.
Stone, the reigning NECC, New England Women's Basketball Association (NEWBA) and Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Player of the Week, scored 15 of her 17 points during the first half, was 7-of-9 (77.7%) from the floor and 3-of-4 (75%) from the free throw line. The sophomore forward also chalked up a team-best two blocks. Frontcourt partner Amanda Hawkesworth (Abington, Mass.) scored a game-high 18 points with eight markers coming from the charity stripe (8-of-10, 80%). She added nine caroms as well.
Regis outscored the Blazers 30-20 in the low post and outrebounded them 53-33 on the glass. The Pride had 13 offensive rebounds which led to 17 second chance points. The Crimson and Gold never trailed in the contest.
The Pride opened up the duel with six straight points, as Stone, Hawkesworth and Stone again converted layups from underneath to put Regis up 6-0 early. Junior forward Alexandra Marques (Newington, Conn.) got the Blazers on the board four minutes into the frame after she split a pair of freebies. On their next possession, Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) went coast to coast for an easy layup which cut the deficit to three points; the closest Elms would come in the game. Regis would add four more points with the Blazers mixing a bucket in to go up 10-5 headed into the second stanza.
Both squads struggled from the hardwood early on as Elms converted 2-of-16 (12.5%) of their attempts and Regis was 4-of-18 (22.2%) from the field.
Sophomore guard Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) began the new quarter with a layup down low after a Sam D'Angelo (Woburn, Mass.) miss. Regis would go up by 18; seven minutes in with a 19-4 run spurned by sophomore guard Shannon Hayes (Billerica, Mass.) who returned from a nine game absence. Hayes played the pick and roll game well, which led to her first two mid-range shot attempts to tickle the twine.
Stone wrapped up the Pride scoring binge after following her own missed shot, collecting the carom, and putting the second attempt off the glass and in while she was fouled. Stone, who makes 81% of her free throw attempts, converted the freebie to complete the three point play and more importantly gave the Pride their largest lead of the first half, 29-11.
Elms responded to the Regis run with one of their own as they tallied the final nine points of the stanza. Emily Burr knocked down a three pointer after a Stone turnover, Mackenzie LaRochelle cleaned up a JC Pickett (Chicopee, Mass.) miss, freshman forward Nakia Mabin (Bridgeport, Conn.) put a layup off the backboard and senior guard Mariah Brown (Windsor Locks, Conn.) hit a jumper as time expired to cut the Pride lead to 29-20 at the break.
After a Hawkesworth layup conversion, Brown knocked down two jumpers to bring the Blazers within seven, 31-24 with 7:31 left in the third. Another Hawkesworth make and an Alyssa Lanpher (Princeton, Mass.) corner three ball increased the Pride lead back to double-figures, 36-24 with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter. LaRochelle then took off down the court when she grabbed a rebound after a missed jumper from Hawkesworth at the top of the key and put a fast break layup home to bring the deficit back down to single figures.
Regis ended the quarter on a 13-2 run to head into the final period with a 20 point, 50-30 lead. Hawkesworth was a huge factor in the third stanza as the junior co-captain tallied 13 of the Pride's 21 points on 4-of-8 (50%) shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 (83.3%) efficiency from the free throw line.
Both teams traded points in the final quarter as each squad racked up 10 points apiece, which was good enough to send the hosts on to the championship game.
Sam D'Angelo came off the bench and scored nine points in 18 minutes while snagging five rebounds, Alyssa Lanpher had an all-around game with five points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists. Linsay Bumila (Raynham, Mass.) recorded six boards in seven minutes off the bench.
Mackenzie LaRochelle led the Blazers with 12 points and seven rebounds with Emily Burr adding nine points.