DURHAM, N.H. – Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) scored a game-high 15 points, including three free throws in the final 89 seconds, to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to Wednesday night's 51-49 America East victory against the University of Hartford at Lundholm Gym.
UNH, with its third consecutive home win, improved to 10-15 overall, 5-8 in America East and 7-3 at home. Hartford is now 17-10, 8-6.
Hogan, who was named UNH's America East Player of the Game, shot 4-for-7 from the floor and made both 3-point attempts; she was also credited with four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and two steals while Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) had 10 points and four rebounds. Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) contributed five points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Hartford's Alex Hall matched Hogan's game-high 15 points with 5 of 6 shooting from the floor and 5-for-7 from the foul line. Ruthanne Doherty became the 13th player in program history to score 1,000 career points with the fourth of her eight points.
The Hawks led 44-39 on Hall's jumper at 4:32 of the second half. Kilpatrick made a pair of free throws at 2:36 to trim the deficit to three points and then her layup lifted the Wildcats within 44-43 at 1:50. Hartford called a timeout but immediately committed a turnover, then Hogan hit one of two foul shots to forge the seventh tie of the game, 44-44, at 1:29.
UNH's spurt extended to nine consecutive points as both Frame and Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) both went 2-for-2 from the foul line to give the 'Cats a 48-44 lead with 37 seconds remaining.
Alyssa Englert was fouled at the other end of the court and hit two free throws to lift Hartford within 48-46 with 31 seconds to play. UNH committed a turnover and then with 23 seconds on the clock, Nikkia Smith drilled a free throw to make it a one-point margin. She missed the second attempt, however, and Hogan pulled down the defensive rebound.
Hogan was sent to the foul line and went 1-for-2 to push the advantage to 49-47 with 20 seconds left. On her missed second free throw, Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) corralled a loose ball and continued the free-throw trend of make, then miss to give UNH a 50-47 lead.
Hogan grabbed the offensive rebound off Reed's missed second free throw, however, then once again went 1-for-2 at the foul line for a 51-47 advantage with 14 seconds remaining.
Hartford's Shanise Bultron's 3-pointer was off the mark, but Doherty's layup on the offensive rebound trimmed the deficit to 51-49 with seven seconds to go. UNH's high-arcing inbounds pass was tipped away and snared by Englert.
The Hawks called immediately called time out and Hall caught the inbounds pass near midcourt with four seconds on the clock. She dribbled to the right wing inside the 3-point line and lost her footing with one second left and time expired on the Hawks.
Both teams struggled offensively in the opening five minutes of the game as UNH inched out to a 6-2 lead. Kilpatrick gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead and Bultron's basket tied the score at 2. Hogan's jumper at 16:58 put the 'Cats back in front and Gaston's jump shot extended the advantage to 6-2 at 14:54.
Hartford went on an 11-0 run the next four minutes to build a 13-6 lead. Doherty ignited the spurt with a short jumper in the paint and then Daphne Elliott gave the Hawks their first lead of the game, 7-6, with a three-point play at 12:56.
UNH answered with 10 consecutive points the next 4:30 of the game to regain the lead, 16-13. A pair of Kilpatrick field goals trimmed the deficit to 13-10, then Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) followed with a jumper and layup and Hogan made two free throws to close the spurt at 6:41.
The Hawks went back in front, 17-16, at 3:35 and the teams exchanged baskets to push the score to 20-19 in favor of UNH. Frame closed the first-half scoring with a short jumper to give the home team a three-point lead heading into halftime.
New Hampshire established its largest lead of the game – six points (27-21) – at 18:09 of the second half on Hogan's 3-pointer. The Wildcats maintained its lead until Hall hit two foul shots to forge a 29-29 tie at 11:33.
The Hawks went on a 7-3 run the next 3:45 to take a 36-32 lead. UNH responded with jumpers by Belanger and Hogan to level the score, 36-36. In the next two minutes, the visitors edged ahead 44-39 with an 8-3 spurt. The 'Cats then began their comeback and fended off Hartford down the stretch.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 23 (1 p.m.) at home against Binghamton University. Fans in attendance for Alumni Day are encouraged to wear pink in support of the fight against breast cancer as part of Play 4Kay day.