AMHERST, MASS. – The University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team doubled its production in the second half of action, scoring 34 during the final frame to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit and get within three points of the University of Massachusetts, but the Minutewomen were able to hold onto the lead and grab the win, 67-51, on Wednesday evening at the Mullins Center.
The Wildcats, who fall to 0-2 on the season, were led in scoring by Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) with 16 and 14 points, respectively. The Minutewomen, who improve to 2-1 on the season, were led by Cerie Mosgrove and Stefanie Gerardot with 14 points apiece.
The Minutewomen opened up the game with a 7-0 run, but a 3-pointer by Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) started the Wildcat scoring and got the Wildcats to within four (7-3) less than three minutes into action. Simpson finished the half with eight points and totaled 12 in the game.
At 17:32, Gerardot hit a 3-pointer to initiate a 17-4 Minutewomen run to make it 20-7 in with 11:47 to play in the first. Massachusetts, lead by Gerardot with nine first-half points, took a 30-17 lead into the locker room at the half time.
Cerie Mosgrove scored the Minutewomen’s first eight points to start the second half, allowing for a 17-point (38-21) Massachusetts advantage with 17:44 remaining.
The Wildcats then held UMass from converting a field goal for over five minutes of action and got within three points of the Minutewomen (42-39) with 13:35 left to play. The 10-0 Wildcat run was sparked by LaRosa who had six points during the offensive attack, and Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.), who converted on the hoop and the harm to get make it a one-possession game. New Hampshire shot 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from the field in the second half.
Sophomore center Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) had a career-high four blocks and pulled down a career-high seven rebounds, including seven during the final frame. LaRosa, who went 6-for-10 from the field for a career-high 12 points and earned America East player of the game honors for the Wildcats, also pulled down five boards and dished out three assists.
A 3-pointer by Gerardot at 12:22 ended the Minutewomen draught and begin a 17-2 run, giving the home team their largest lead of the game, 60-41, with 7:35 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats continue their road trip when they travel to Long Island University to take part in the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic. New Hampshire will open up the tournament by facing Long Island on Friday, Nov. 28 at 2 p.m.