ALBANY, N.Y. – Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) tallied a game-high 18 points and five rebounds, but the third-seeded University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to second-seeded Stony Brook University, 79-59, in Sunday's America East semifinal game at SEFCU Arena.
The Wildcats' tournament run ends with a record of 19-12, while the Seawolves (24-7) advance to the conference championship game against top-seeded University at Albany (27-4) on Monday, March 10 at 4 p.m.
Led by head coach Maureen Magarity, New Hampshire's 19 wins match the most wins in program history since the 1998-99 season (19-8).
The Wildcats posted three players in double-digit scoring. Behind's Belanger's scoring effort, Kristen Anderson (Greene, Maine) tallied 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting, including 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in 10 points and a pair of assists.
Stony Brook registered five players in double figure scoring. Teasha Harris paced the Seawolves with 16 points off the bench. Jessica Ogunnorin tallied 14 points and seven rebounds. Guards Chikilra Goodman and Sabre Proctor pitched in 13 points apiece. Kori Bayne-Walker added 10 points in the win. Goodman also registered a double-double effort with a game-high 11 rebounds.
UNH logged a 23 of 58 effort from the field to post a .397 field goal percentage. SBU notched 28 of 64 shots from the floor to post a .438 clip. The Seawolves were 18 of 21 (.857) from the free throw line. The 'Cats were held to just four free throws, registering all their attempts.
The Wildcats began the match in a 7-2 run, capped of by a Hogan trey. Stony Brook retaliated with 13 unanswered points as Goodman buried back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Seawolves a 15-7 edge with 13:18 left in the first half.
After each side upped the score to 19-13, Stony Brook extended its lead to 12 with 7:58 to go in the opening frame.
UNH used the 3-ball to cut the SBU lead in half. Sarah-Marie Frankenberger (Gross Gerau, Germany) and Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio) registered their attempts from beyond the arc to inch closer with a score of 27-21. In spite of that, Brittany Snow, Miranda Jenkins and Bayne-Walker rebuilt the double-digit lead for SBU at 32-21 with 5:10 left in the first stanza.
New Hampshire chipped down the deficit in the expiring moments of the first half. After trading baskets, Gaston trimmed down SBU's lead to single digits at 34-26, with a basket off the glass. Belanger followed by converting a layup with 1:52 remaining in the opening frame. After a pair of free throws by Bayne-Walker, Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick) closed out the scoring in the half with a layup in the post. UNH entered halftime trailing, 36-30.
The Wildcats struck first to start the second half, pulling within four points. Belanger again penetrated the paint to log a layup. Stony Brook proceeded to clamp down on defense, holding UNH scoreless for the next 6 minutes, 14 seconds. Over the span of the Wildcats' scoring drought, the Seawolves compiled a 10-point run to increase the score to 46-34. Hogan snapped the scoring spell for New Hampshire, hitting a jumper from the left wing. After a Proctor layup in transition, Anderson drained a trey from the top of the arc as the Wildcats trailed 50-39 with 11:54 to go in regulation.
Coming out of the media timeout, Stony Brook managed to preserve its double-digit lead, constructing another lengthy run. The Seawolves logged 11-straight points to increase the SBU lead to 61-39 with 6:48 left in the second half. Despite baskets from Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) and Anderson, Stony Brook increased its lead to 24, its largest lead of the game, at 67-43.
New Hampshire tried to rally with five minutes to go in the match. The Wildcat offense began to pick up again and produce, getting contributions from Anderson, Coia and Hogan. However, SBU countered with attacking the paint, drawing fouls and consistent free throw shooting, logging 12 of 15 attempts in the second stanza. UNH slimmed down the Stony Brook lead down to 17 points as the score stood, 71-54, with 3:02 left on the clock.
The Wildcats would not get any closer as the Seawolves were able to trade points for the remainder of regulation and hand UNH the 79-59 loss.
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