WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Westfield State University women's basketball team overcame an outstanding effort from Bridgewater State University sophomore guard Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) as the Owls held off the Bears, 77-68, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup on Wednesday night at the Woodward Center.
With the key win, Westfield State is now 16-8 on the season and 10-1 in the MASCAC. The first place Owls hold a one-game lead over Framingham State University in the conference standings with one game left to play in the regular season.
The Bears fall to 10-14 overall and 5-6 in the MASCAC with their third straight setback.
DaSilva poured in a career-high 34 points and tied the school record for three-pointers in a game with nine. She connected on 12 of 22 field goal attempts and went 9-for-16 from behind the arc.
DaSilva equaled Brittney Chappron's program mark of nine trifectas set back in 2011 against MCLA. DaSilva's 34 points is tied for the third highest single-game total in BSU program history. Former two-sport standout Jenna Williamson holds the record with 36 points against Salem State University in 2014.
Tonight, Westfield led 35-27 at the half, using a balanced scoring attack and forcing the Bears into 18 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Bridgewater trailed by 11 points early in the second half, but chipped away at Westfield's lead. DaSilva knocked down four three-pointers and scored 13 points in the third quarter to help keep the Bears' within reach as they trailed 56-49 heading into the final period.
A pair of DaSilva trifectas within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter made it a three-point game, 58-55. After a Westfield free throw, BSU senior forward Jennie Lindland's (Edgartown, Mass.) scored five straight points on a free throw and two layups to give the Bears their first and only lead of the game, 60-59, with 7:13 left to play.
From that point, the Owls pulled away with a 14-0 run capped by sophomore guard Lucy Barrett's (Williamstown, Mass.) layup with 2:56 to play that put the game away.
Westfield was led by 15 points from Barrett, and got a 12-point, six-rebound, six-steal effort from senior guard Jill Valley (Orange, Mass.). Junior center Rebecca Sapouckey (Chicopee, Mass.) added 11 points and 13 rebounds, and sophomore forward Janaiya Sanchez (Springfield, Mass.) added an 11-rebound effort for the Owls.
Westfield outrebounded Bridgewater by a decided margin of 66-45 with a 31-13 advantage on the offensive glass. The Owls got 42 points in the paint and 31 points off 29 BSU turnovers.
Twenty-four of DaSilva's 34 points and seven of her nine three-pointers came in the second half. She also finished the game with six rebounds, a pair of assists and five steals.
Lindland was the only other player in double figures for the Bears as she posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds to go along with four assists, four steals and a blocked shot. Of Lindland's 12 board, five came off the offensive glass.
Bridgewater shot 36% (26-72) from the floor and 39% (13-33) from three-point land. The Bears made just seven trips (3-for-7) to the free throw line.
Westfield connected on 34% (30-89) of its field goals attempts and finished just 5-for-24 (21%) from behind the arc. The Owls went 12-for-20 (60%) at the charity stripe.
Both teams wrap up MASCAC and regular season play on Saturday at three. The Bears host MCLA while the Owls entertain Worcester State University.