WEST HARTFORD, CONN. – Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) led the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball team with 15 points, but it was not enough as the Wildcats fell to the University of Hartford, 57-37, on Saturday afternoon as Chase Arena.

With the loss the Wildcats conclude the regular season with a record of 8-22, including 6-10 in the America East, while the Hawks improved to 19-10, 14-2 in the conference. The Wildcats will be seeded sixth at the America East tournament and will face No. 3 Vermont at the 2009 America East Women’s Basketball Championships.

Williams, who was selected as the America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats, also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in the game. Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) and Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) chipped in with nine and six points, respectively, for the Wildcats.

With the score 14-5 in favor of the Hawks with 15:31 to play in the first half, the Wildcats put together a 7-1 run to cut the deficit to just three (15-12) with just under 11 minutes to go. The Wildcats, who held the Hawks without a field goal for almost four minutes of action, were led by Williams with four points and Wells with three points during the run.

The Hawks, however, ended their draught on a jumper by Jackie Smith at 11:40 and went on a 10-0 run to garner a 25-12 lead with just under nine minutes to go in the half. On the next possession, Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) hit a trey to make it 25-15 with 8:25 remaining, but five straight points by the Hawks gave them a 15-point lead (30-15) with 7:35 to play.

New Hampshire chipped away at the deficit, scoring four straight to make it 30-19 with 6:26 to play, but Hartford countered with four points to make it 34-19 with just under three minutes to go in the half. Williams and Diana Delva hit one free throw down the stretch to make it 35-20 at the half. Williams finished the half with nine points and four rebounds. Hartford, led by Lisa Etienne with seven points, shot 51 percent (15-29) from the floor during the opening frame.

Despite dropping to 37.5 percent (9-24) from the field in the second half, the Hawks were able to hold onto the lead. Led by Jackie Smith and Delva, who each had five points in the second half, the Hawks led by more than 20 points for the majority of the final frame and took a 23-point lead (56-33) with over four minutes to play in the game.

Delva was the only Hawks player to post in double figures as she led the squad with 10 points. She added five rebounds in the game and was chosen as the America East Player of the Game for the Hawks.

The Wildcats will face Vermont on Friday, March 13 in a quarterfinal match up. The 8 p.m. tip off will take place at the University of Hartford’s Chase Arena. For America East Championship ticket information please click HERE.

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