BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Junior forward Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) recorded a double-double with a season-high 18 points and ten rebounds, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire fell to Long Island University, 74-60, in the first game of the Courtyard LaGaurdia Turkey Classic on Friday afternoon at the Wellness Center.
The Wildcats (0-3) got their scoring starting on a layup by Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) at 17:57, which sparked a 9-0 run to give New Hampshire a 9-4 lead with 15:50 to play in the first half. Simpson finished the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, and a team-high five assists.
The Wildcats held the lead for more than five minutes, until Marika Sprow drained a 3-pointer to put the host school ahead (14-13) with 11:25 to play in the opening stanza. Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) drained a trey for the Wildcats to put them back on top, 16-14 halfway through the first frame. Sprow hit another three to regain the lead for the Blackbirds, 17-16, with 9:43 remaining in the first half. With just under six minutes to play, LaRosa, who totaled eight of her 12 points during the first half, sunk another trifecta to net the score, 23-23.
The teams exchanged baskets until Chrissy Hall (Northbridge, Mass.) hit a free throw to even the score once again, 27-27, with 4:14 to play. That was as close as the Wildcats would get, however, as the Blackbirds took a seven-point lead (36-29) into the locker room at the half. Williams, the America East Player of the Game for the Wildcats, notched ten points during the opening frame.
The Blackbirds (3-2) opened up the second half by going on a 9-4 run to take a 14-point lead (47-33) with 16:47 remaining. With just over 14 minutes remaining, Williams and Kate Early (Corning, N.Y.) hit back-to-back layups to make it 51-40 with 13:38 left to play. Early finished the game with six points and six rebounds, all of which came during the second half of action. Ashley Palmer, who led the Blackbirds in scoring with 22 points, 11 rebounds and five steals, notched 13 points during the final frame.
With 8:41 left to play, LIU’s Chelsi Johnson connect on a layup to give the Blackbirds their largest lead of the game, 65-46. Johnson had 16 points in the game for the home team. Also posting in double-figures for the Blackbirds were Marika Sprow, with 11 points, and Li’Esha Garcia, who posted all of her 12 points during the second half.
The Wildcats, whom had all but one player record a rebound, out-boarded their opponent, 48-35.
New Hampshire will play in the Courtyard LaGuardia Turkey Classic consolation game tomorrow against Yale or Kentucky at 2 p.m.