BOSTON – Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) matched her career high of 12 points but the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team was outscored 35-19 in the second half of Saturday afternoon's 59-45 America East loss to Boston University at Case Gym.
UNH, which followed a 47.8% first-half field goal percentage with 25.9% in the second half, is now 9-15 overall and 4-8 in America East. BU, which edged the Wildcats by a score of 55-53 last month at Lundholm Gym, won its sixth consecutive game to improve to 22-4, 12-1.
Belanger, who was named UNH's America East Player of the Game, made a career-high three 3-pointers (3 of 6) and shot 4-for-9 overall from the floor. Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) followed with nine points and nine rebounds. Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) recorded three points, a season-best seven rebounds and team-high four assists.
BU, which committed six turnovers in comparison to UNH's 17, was led offensively by Danielle Callahan (15 points) and Rashidat Agboola (12), who also had nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Mo Moran finished with nine points, five rebounds and eight assists.
UNH built an early 8-4 lead. Belanger opened the game scoring at 18:38 with a 3-pointer from the top of the key and then Gaston hit a 3-pointer from the left wing that beat the shot clock and gave the Wildcats a 6-2 lead at 17:30. Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.; eight points, five rebounds) drove the left baseline for a layup and 8-4 advantage at 16:54.
Moran's 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to one point before Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) banked in a 15-foot jumper to give the 'Cats a 10-7 lead at 15:48. Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) made a shot from the right elbow to extend the differential to five points.
BU's Callahan scored five consecutive points, including a 3-pointer that leveled the score, 12-12, at 12:02. UNH responded with a 9-3 run to establish a 21-15 lead. Frame hit back-to-back baskets to ignite the run, which also included a Kilpatrick hook shot on the right blocks and Wells' jumper at the left elbow.
Mollie McKendrick's consecutive field goals lifted BU within 21-19 before Hogan hit a jumper on the left baseline to give the 'Cats a four-point lead at 4:37. Kilpatrick made the front end of a 1-and-1 at 3:32 and Frame's 10-footer in the paint gave UNH its largest lead of the half, 26-19, at 1:42. BU closed the half on a 5-0 run to close within two points before halftime.
New Hampshire opened the second half on a 7-2 run to match its largest lead at 33-26. Kilpatrick opened the scoring with a layup on the right blocks, then Belanger drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing and Hogan hit a pair of free throws.
A short jumper by Belanger once again gave the 'Cats a seven-point margin, 35-28, at 14:24. BU closed within one point before Hogan's drive and layup on the left wing and a Stephanie Spoto (Pittsford, N.Y.) layup when she was left alone on the left blocks made it 39-34 in favor of UNH at 11:30.
BU, which outscored the 'Cats 25-6 the rest of the way, scored the next 10 points and led 44-39 when UNH called a timeout at 5:50. Frame hit a free throw at 5:26 to end the run, but the Terriers responded with a 5-0 spurt to extend their lead to 49-40. Belanger buried a 3-pointer on the right wing to trim the deficit to 49-43 at 3:26.
The Wildcats would get no closer, however, as BU netted seven consecutive points before Frame's layup on the right blocks made it 56-45 with 40 seconds remaining.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 20 (7 p.m.) against the University of Hartford for the beginning of a three-game homestand at Lundholm Gym.