SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) scored 18 points and pulled in five rebounds, but it was not enough, as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to No. 23 Syracuse University, 58-48, Wednesday night at Manley Field House.
With the win, the Orange improve to 12-0 on the season, marking the program's best start in history and the first time the team has won 12 consecutive games since the 2007-08 campaign. As for the Wildcats, they fall to 5-7 on the year, after holding the Orange to its second lowest offensive output this season.
The Orange started off the game scoring the first two buckets, as Nicole Michael buried a 3-pointer and Vionca Murray layed the ball in to jump ahead 5-0 at 15:43.
The Wildcats would fight back with two baskets of their own, as Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) laced a jumper and Beliveau buried a layup to set the score at 5-4 with 11:02 remaining.
Syracuse responded stringing off a 7-0 run, as Michael drilled a 3-pointer to kick off the run, propelling the Orange to a 12-4 lead with 9:26 remaining. Beliveau helped answer the call for UNH, as she ended the scoring drought with a trifecta, however, that would be the last time the ‘Cats would score for more than two minutes.
In the meantime, the Orange picked up the tempo, posting an 8-0 run that pushed the score to 20-7 in favor of the home team. Tasha Harris helped pick up the scoring load during the stretch as she knocked down jumpers on back-to-back possessions to cap off a run that lasted 1:40.
Beliveau would once again snap the run, as she knocked down another 3-pointer on the following possession. Immediately following the basket, Kayla Alexander answered with a layup, but that wasn't enough for the Orange to catch fire, as Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) fired in a trifecta to cut the score to 22-13 with 5:14 remaining.
The Orange put together a 9-0 run following Reed's 3-pointer, as Juanita Ward drained two buckets in the stretch, pushing the home team's lead to 31-13. New Hampshire would find its stroke in closing moments of the half as Beliveau and Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) both drained 3-pointers on ensuing possessions to cut the score to 31-19 at the intermission.
UNH picked up right where it left off at the start of the second stanza, putting together a 11-7 run that was capped off with a 3-pointer by Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) that cut the deficit down to eight points, with the score 38-30 at 15:11.
Alexander added three points the old-fashioned-way on the next trip up the floor, but it was not enough to shut down the ‘Cats as they scored seven unanswered points following the basket, narrowing the score to just four points, with the score 41-37 at 12:45.
After just over one minute of scoreless play, Syracuse would catch fire once again, posting a 7-2 run. Alexander tallied all seven points for the Orange during the stretch, including a jumper that sparked the run at 11:35.
For the next five minutes of play, both teams would exchange baskets, until the Orange scored four unanswered points, capped off with a pair of free throws by Erica Morrow with 29 seconds remaining.
For Syracuse, the four point run pushed its lead to its highest of the half, with a 12-point advantage, a lead it would not relinquish for the remainder of play.
Beliveau was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, scoring 18 points, tallying five rebounds, three assists and a steal on the night. Williams added 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the contest. McDonald chipped in with six points, three boards and a career-high seven blocks.
As for the Orange, Alexander finished the night with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Michael added 12 points, six boards and three steals.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m., when they open up conference play against the University of Vermont at Lundholm Gymnasium.