November 20, 2009

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ICES MASSACHUSETTS, 58-57

DURHAM, N.H. - After being down by as many as 18 points, Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) poured in 11 second half points and Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) knocked down a pair of late free throws to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 58-57 victory over the University of Massachusetts Friday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.

With the win, the Wildcats improve to 2-1 on the young season, while the Minutewomen lose their second straight game, falling to 1-2. For New Hampshire, the victory comes as its second against an Atlantic-10 opponent this season and is its first win against UMass since Dec. 4, 2005.

After a first period in which the Minutewomen shot 50 percent (11-22) from the field, including 57.1 percent from three-point land, UMass entered the second stanza with a 35-26 lead. Megan Zullo lead the way for UMass in the first half as she knocked down four 3-pointers for 12 points.

UMass would continue its sharp shooting ways at the start of the second half posting an 11-2 run to kick off the action. Cerie Mosgrove gave the Minutewomen life as she nailed a pair of trifectas on back-to-back possessions during the stretch, building UMass' lead up to 18, with the score 46-28 at 17:39.

Despite facing their largest deficit of the evening, the Wildcats would claw back into the action with a 21-2 run. Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) set the ‘Cats off, laying the ball in at 17:21 and tallying six points on the stretch.

Danella would end the run with two free throws to regain the lead, with the score 50-49 at 4:55 in favor of the visitors. The two squads would trade baskets with one another for next four minutes of play, in a stretch that featured three ties and three lead changes.

With score knotted at 56-56, Kristina Danella nailed the second of two free throws to put the Minutewomen up 57-56 with just 0:39 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Beckford missed on a layup attempt, but McDonald was able to track down the loose ball and was quickly fouled by Nicole Jones.

With a chance to give UNH just its third lead of the game, McDonald stepped to line and sank both free throws to give the Wildcats the 58-57 edge. The Minutewomen would have one last attempt to regain the lead for good on their next trip down floor, but Nicole James missed a jump hook as the buzzer sounded, sealing the victory for New Hampshire.

McDonald, who named the America East Player of the Game, notched 10 points, tied a career-high with nine rebounds and tallied two blocks and two steals. Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) lead the ‘Cats with 17 points and seven boards. Beliveau finished the night with 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

As for UMass, Zullo and Danella each tallied 14 points apiece. Mosgrove also chipped in with 12 points, four rebounds and two assists.

The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. when they take on Harvard University at Lundholm Gymnasium.

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