DURHAM, N.H. – Senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) poured in a game-high 17 points and four steals to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team past the University of Vermont, 58-48, Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats improved to 13-11 overall and 6-6 in league play, completing the season sweep over Vermont for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign, while the Catamounts dipped to 9-17 on the season and 3-10 in the conference.
Beliveau, who earned America East Player of the Game honors for UNH, shot 7-of-13 from the floor, adding four rebounds and three treys in 26 minutes of action. Senior Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) registered a team-high nine rebounds, while junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) recorded nine points. Sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) posted a strong all-around game with seven points, four assists and three steals.
Shanai Heber was named the player of the game for Vermont as she posted a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with three assists.
As a team, the Wildcats shot 45.1 percent (23-51) from the field and 35.3 percent from long range.
The teams swapped baskets to open the first 5:14 of the contest, giving the Catamounts a slim 8-7 advantage, but UNH reeled off eight straight points to take the lead at 15-8 with 12:10 left in the first half.
After Vermont stopped the stretch with a 3-pointer by Sam Simononis to pull within four, UNH answered right back with a trey from Beliveau, stretching the lead back to seven. The Catamounts managed to pull within four by means of three straight free throws, but another Beliveau 3-pointer sparked a 7-0 run by the home side. Senior Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) capped off the stretch with a steal at midcourt and finished strong with a layup to push the Wildcats on top, 25-14 at the 8:09 mark.
Vermont rebounded with a 3-pointer and a subsequent layup for a quick five points, but UNH strung together another big run with 11 unanswered for the 36-19 advantage with 4:05 left in the opening half.
Despite a pair of scoring drives by the Catamounts in the final four minutes of the half, the Wildcats went into intermission with a 38-24 advantage. UNH shot 50 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, paced by Beliveau's 14-point effort in the half.
UNH jumped on the board first to start the second half as LaRosa and Beliveau knocked down back-to-back trifectas to push the home side in front, 44-24, at the 16:08 mark.
From there, the teams swapped baskets and trips to the free throw line, maintaining UNH's 20-point lead with 6:52 left to play, before Vermont drained four straight free throws to pull within 17 at 53-36.
Vermont then trimmed the deficit down to 15 on a pair of driving layups, but sophomore Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) stepped back and drilled a 3-pointer with 3:32 left on the clock to seal the victory and silence any hope of a Catamount comeback.
The Wildcats return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 15 when they host first-place Boston University at 7 p.m. For tickets, and more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.