BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – The visiting Westfield State University women's basketball team held on for a 74-69 victory over Bridgewater State University in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley center.
The Owls, who were up by as many as 19 points in the third quarter, improve to 11-6 on the season with the win and 5-0 in the MASCAC. The Bears fall to 7-10 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Senior guard Jill Valley (Orange, Mass.) scored 18 points to lead the visitors, while sophomore guard Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.) added 15 including a couple of key buckets late in the game.
Senior forward Jennie Lindland (Edgartown, Mass.) paced the host Bears with a game-high 23 points on 11 of 17 shooting, while junior guard Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) came off the bench to score a career-high 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting in 26 minutes. Lindland's 23 points equaled her career best.
BSU junior forward Rhiana Page (Brookline, Mass.) filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds (four offensive) and a career and game-high seven assists.
The Bears got off to a slow start as they turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and converted just 5 of 16 (31%) field goals.
Trailing by 11 late in the quarter, White knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds remaining to make it a 20-12 game at the end of one. White's trifecta seemed to jumpstart the offense as the Bears carried the momentum into the second quarter.
A White jumper and three-pointer pulled the hosts to within five, 22-17, with a minute gone in the period. Later in the quarter, back-to-back layups from Page made it a three-point game (26-23) with 6:25 remaining until halftime.
Five consecutive Westfield three-pointers over the next 3 ½ minutes, however, including two from senior guard Susan Bell (Florence, Mass), extended the Owl advantage to 38-23. Another trifecta by Bell with 20 seconds remaining closed out the scoring in the first half as the visitors took a 43-26 lead into the locker room.
Valley led all players with ten points in the first half while Bell scored nine of her 12 points in the stanza. Whyte and Page tallied eight points apiece to lead the Bears.
The Owls forced 14 turnovers over the opening 20 minutes and outrebounded the Bears by a margin of 28-18 including an 11-5 edge on the offensive boards. Westfield held the advantage in points off turnovers (18-4), second chance points (13-0) and bench points (20-8). Bridgewater also went just 2-for-9 at the free throw line in the first half.
The Bears cut into the deficit by outscoring the Owls 19-12 in the third quarter to make it a ten-point game (55-45). White provided the spark once again as she scored seven points while the BSU defense held Westfield to 4-for-13 shooting in the period. At one point in third, the Bears trailed by 19 (49-30).
Bridgewater got to within eight on two separate occasions in the fourth quarter, including 70-62 with 2:06 remaining following a Lindland layup. After a stop, Lindland dropped in a layup off a nice feed from Page to make it a six-point game (70-64) with 1:22 remaining. Following a Westfield turnover, the Bears had a chance to pull to within three, but a three-pointer was off the mark. On the Owls' ensuing possession, Barrett knocked down a layup to up the WSU advantage back to eight, 72-64, with just 40 seconds left to play.
Page drove in for a layup and then the Bears forced a turnover to make things interesting. Carter took advantage of the Owl miscue with a traditional three-point play to make it a three-point game, 72-69, with just 14 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
Barrett, however, put the game out of reach with an uncontested layup as the Bears were trying to foul in the waning seconds of the game.
Westfield shot 40% (28-70) from the floor and finished just 7-for-15 (47%) at the free throw line. The Owls did, however, connect on 11 three-pointers (11-for-29), while the Bears went just 3-for-16 (19%) from behind the arc. After a tough start, Bridgewater shot 50% (26-52) over the last three quarters.
The Bears outscored the Owls 50-32 in the paint including a 34-16 advantage in the second half.
In upcoming action, the Bears travel to Elms College on Monday evening for a seven o'clock non-conference game with the Blazers. The Owls head to MASCAC rival Worcester State University on Wednesday night to take on the Lancers at 7:30.