WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) netted 13 points and 12 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season, but the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to the University of Hartford, 64-46, Wednesday evening at Chase Arena.
With the loss, the Wildcats drop to 12-10 overall and 5-5 in America East play, while the Hawks move to 14-10 on the season and 5-5 in the conference. The two teams split the season series as each held serve with a home victory.
Frame, who earned America East Player of the Game honors for UNH, notched her second double-double in as many games, while senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) posted 11 points. Sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in with seven points and three assists.
Alex Hall, who earned player of the game honors for Hartford, led all players with 22 points, shooting 6-of-13 from the field.
Both teams struggled offensively to open the contest until Hogan hit Frame with a pass down low for the easy lay-up. On the next possession, Beliveau picked off a pass and finished strong on the other end with a lay-in, pushing the Wildcats in front, 4-0, at the 7:13 mark.
After Hartford jumped on the board with a post basket and a free throw, Frame muscled through the defense in the paint, converting the bucket and drawing the foul for the eventual 3-point play and four-point UNH advantage.
Hartford bounced back with seven unanswered points, sparked by back-to-back jumpers from Hall to push the home side on top, 10-7, at the 7:48 mark.
The teams then swapped baskets over the next 4:52, capped off by a short jumper by Taylor Clark to give the Hawks a six-point lead, but Hogan silenced the crowd on the next possession with a 3-pointer, pulling the Wildcats within three at 19-16. The only scoring during the final two minutes of the half came on a Hartford free throw as the home side held on for the 20-16 lead at intermission.
New Hampshire returned to its scoring form to open the second half as Beliveau stepped back and drilled a trifecta to pull within one, but Hartford responded with a 7-2 run for the 27-21 advantage with 17:26 remaining.
After swapping baskets, the Hawks took advantage of a pair of trips at the free throw line to fuel a 12-4 run, paving the way for a 39-27 lead midway through the stanza. Freshman Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) kept the Wildcats alive during the stretch with two impressive scoring drives through the lane, before Frame halted the run with a bucket underneath, trimming the Hartford lead to 10 at 9:41.
The teams went back-and-forth over the next three minutes, ending with a 14-point lead in favor of the home side, but sophomore Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) drilled a short jumper to trim the deficit to 12 with 7:32 remaining. Reed went on to net the next five points for the Wildcats, capped off with a 3-pointer to pull the visitors within nine, 48-39, with 4:09 left to play.
UNH then clawed to within seven after a pair of free throws by Beliveau, but the Wildcats could not get closer as the Hawks went 10-of-10 at the line in the final two minutes to seal the victory.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 8 when they visit Albany at 12 p.m. For tickets to home games, and more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.