DURHAM, N.H. - The University of Hartford Hawks rebounded from an 11-point second-half deficit, scoring the last 13 points of the game to defeat the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 62-52, Sunday afternoon in America East women's basketball action at Lundholm Gymnasium.
In the final five minutes of the game, Hartford (19-2, 11-0 America East) outscored UNH 13-0, outrebounded the Wildcats 10-1, and made 7-of-9 free throw attempts. The Hawks extend their winning streak to 13 games overall and their winning streak against the Wildcats to seven games, sweeping the regular season series for the third consecutive year.
Down 26-23 at halftime, the Wildcats went on an 18-4 run over the first eight minutes of the second half to take a 41-30 lead. During that span, UNH forced Hartford to commit five turnovers, and the Hawks shot only 2-of-10 from the field.
Danielle Hood led the comeback for Hartford, scoring all seven of her points over the next two minutes as the Hawks cut the UNH lead down to four at 43-39. As a team, Hartford shot 10-of-13 from the field in the final 12 minutes of the second half.
After Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) hit a layup off a pass from Ebony Woods (Philadelphia, Pa.) to make the score 47-41, Hartford's Erica Beverly converted on a traditional three-point play, then later hit a jumper with 5:56 remaining to give the Hawks a 48-47 lead. Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine) notched her own three-point play, then set up Ray Williams (Mississauga, Ontario) for a lay up to give UNH a 52-49 lead with 5:07 remaining.
Ikea Witt scored six points in the final three minutes to help Hartford break away from UNH. Beverly, a 54 percent free throw shooter coming into the game, hit all four of her attempts in the final minute on her way to a 9-for-10 day at the foul line.
Cerniglia hit three baskets from three-point land to lead the Wildcats with 13 points. Clark scored 11 points, while Williams and Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) earned nine points apiece. Lindsay Adams (Theresa, N.Y.) scored seven points, and Woods contributed three points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Beverly and Witt led the Hawks with 15 points each, with Beverly leading all players with nine rebounds. MaryLynne Schaefer kept the Hawks in the game in the first half with four three-pointers for 12 points, and Erika Messam added seven points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals to the winning effort.
Hartford won the rebounding battle, 39-32, and shot 17-of-22 from the free throw line during the afternoon. UNH committed 17 turnovers, shot 37 percent from the field, and made only eight trips to the free throw line.
New Hampshire (13-9, 5-6 America East) travels to Stony Brook to face the Seawolves Wednesday, February 15, at 7 p.m. The 'Cats return to Lundholm Gym for their final two regular season home games in ten days, hosting Albany on February 22 at 7 p.m. and Boston University on February 25 at 1 p.m. For ticket information, call 1-866-WILDCAT or go online to www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.