SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tied her career-high scoring 17 points, including 11 in the second half, but it was not enough as the University of New Hampshire women's basketball fell to Seton Hall, 54-45, Thursday night at Walsh Gymnasium.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 5-3 on the season, winning their second straight game, while the Wildcats fall to 3-3.
New Hampshire got off to a quick start in the contest, posting a 10-5 run, led by McDonald, who tallied six points during the five minute scoring stretch.
Nicole Emery responded to the run with a layup at 15:21, cutting New Hampshire's lead down to just three, setting the tone for a 10-4 run, capped off with a bucket from Kandice Green with 8:01 remaining, as Seton Hall claimed the lead for the first time in the contest.
Despite the run, Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) helped provide a spark for the ‘Cats as she went head to head with Green, trading baskets in the remaining minutes of the stanza, each stringing off six points apiece.
Following Beliveau's scoring tirade, Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) would help recapture the momentum for the ‘Cats as she drilled a 3-pointer at the top of the key to knot up the action at 21 with 3:58 remaining. Moments later, Green responded to the trifecta with a layup, giving Seton Hall the 23-21 advantage at the intermission. Beliveau and Green both finished the half with eight points each.
Seton Hall would start the second half with two quick baskets on ensuing possessions from Letitia Curry and Ebonie Williams, to kick off a 6-2 Seton Hall run capped off with a basket by Emery at 17:31.
However, the run was short lived as New Hampshire picked up the pieces as an array of Wildcats found the bottom of the net, holding a 12-8 advantage during the next four minutes of play with the score 37-33, in favor of the home team.
During the next two minutes of action the Wildcats picked up a full head of steam nearing the midway point of the stanza, as Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Simpson both drained baskets to tie the game at 37-37 with 10:24 remaining.
The Pirates quickly answered the call as Williams knocked down a 3-pointer that set off a 9-3 run, pushing Seton Hall's lead to six points, with score 46-40 at 6:13.
Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) and McDonald would help the Wildcats get back in the game as they both drained baskets to cut Seton Hall's lead down to just three points, with score 48-45, with 1:04 remaining.
However, a layup by Curry with just over 30 seconds remaining would erase any chance of a comeback by the Wildcats, pushing Seton Hall's lead back up to five points. Kandice Green would preserve the win for the Pirates as she went 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the closing moments of the action.
McDonald, who was named the America East Player of the Game for New Hampshire, scored 17 points, notched two rebounds, two blocks and steal in the contest. Beliveau scored 10 points, ripped down six rebounds and tied her career-high with five steals. Williams chipped in with five points and nine boards.
As for the Pirates, Kandice Green led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Williams and Emery notched 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., when they round out their three-game road set against St. Peter's College at the Yanitelli Center.