Ray Williams

DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire junior Ray Williams (Mississauga, Ontario) scored a career-high 24 points, 19 of them in the second half, to lead the Wildcats past the University of Vermont, 70-62, Saturday afternoon in America East women's basketball action at Lundholm Gym.

Second in the conference in field goal percentage coming into the game, Williams shot 8-of-10 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Her basket with 11:21 left in the second half gave the Wildcats the lead for good. Williams also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, including a couple of key offensive rebounds late in the second half.

In a game with eight ties and 14 lead changes, the Wildcats took an early 23-17 lead in the first half, but the Catamounts went on a 12-2 run to take a four-point lead with 2:48 left in the first half. UNH came right back, with three-pointers by Ashley Cerniglia (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Danielle Clark (Corinna, Maine) helping the Wildcats go up 33-32 at halftime.

Vermont went on an 8-2 run at the beginning of the second half to go back up 40-35. A jumper by Williams and a three-pointer by Cerniglia tied the game, and then the two teams traded the lead until Williams' basket midway through the second half.

A traditional three-point play by Williams with 5:18 remaining in the second half gave the Wildcats their biggest lead at 64-55, but Vermont's Alexis Castro scored five consecutive points to cut the lead to two with 2:21 left. UNH held the Catamounts scoreless for the rest of the game and made all six free throw attempts to ice the contest.

Clark went 7-of-8 from the free throw line in scoring 12 points, plus she grabbed five rebounds and earned two steals. Emily Hardy (Westbrook, Conn.) came off the bench and contributed ten points, a career-high six rebounds, and two assists, while Whitney Edwards (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) added six points, four rebounds, and six assists to the winning cause.

Sitting out the first four minutes of the game, Castro played the rest of the way, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out three assists for the Catamounts. Chrissy Battram went 7-of-9 from the line to score 12 points and earn five assists, but she struggled from the field, hitting only 2-of-10 field goal attempts, including 1-of-7 from behind the three-point line.

In returning to her hometown of Durham, Vermont guard Brittney Cross contributed seven points, four assists, and three steals, while Andrea Cihal and Kelli Poles scored eight points each for the Catamounts. Cihal pulled down eight rebounds, and Alison Brown earned three blocked shots during the afternoon.

UNH outrebounded Vermont (7-11, 3-5 America East), 39-34, and went 21-of-26 from the free throw line, while the Catamounts earned only 16 shots from the charity stripe, making 12 of them. The Wildcats handled the ball better than they had in the past two games, committing only 12 turnovers.

New Hampshire (11-7, 3-4 America East) concludes the first half of the conference season Wednesday, February 1, against the Boston University Terriers at Case Gym in Boston at 7 p.m. The next home game for the Wildcats is Thursday, February 9, against the Binghamton Bearcats at 7 p.m. at Lundholm Gym. For ticket information on that and all remaining home games, go online to www.unhwildcats.com/tickets.

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