BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Freshman forward Destiny Fitzgerald (Medford, Mass.) tallied 13 points and seven rebounds in her collegiate debut to lead the Bridgewater State University women's basketball team to a 52-50 victory over Endicott College in the semifinal round of The Cave Classic on Friday evening at the Tinsley Center.
Junior guard Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) added 11 points for the Bears, while senior forward Chanelle Melton (Brockton, Mass.) checked in with ten points off the bench. Melton, who connected on 3 of 4 field goal attempts and was a perfect 4-for-4 at the free throw line, was playing in her first since game since missing nearly all of last season due to injury.
Endicott senior guard Hannah Kiernan (Wenham, Mass.) led all players with 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Bears used an 11-0 run in the latter stages of the second quarter to erase a six-point deficit and take a 23-18 lead with 1:34 remaining. Five different players scored during the spurt which was capped off by a Kayla Carter (Beverly, Mass.) traditional three-point play. Bridgewater would ultimately tale a 25-22 advantage into the break.
Melton scored six points in the opening stanza to lead Bridgewater State. Kiernan tallied ten points to lead all players in the first half.
The third quarter featured four ties and a pair of lead changes. Down 37-33, the Bears scored the final seven points of the period in a span of 60 seconds to jump ahead, 40-37. An Olivia DelGrosso (Ledyard, Conn.) three-pointer got the rally started while Fitzgerald closed out the run with a layup with just four seconds remaining.
Kiernan scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to put the Gulls back on top. After the teams exchanged baskets, a layup and a jumper by Fitzgerald put the Bears up, 46-43, with just over six minutes left to play. A Melton layup accounted for the only points scored over the next four minutes as Bridgewater led 48-43 as the clock ticked under two minutes.
Endicott rallied to knot the score at 48-48 on three free throws and a breakaway layup by junior guard Catie Lipscomb (West Springfield, Mass.) with 1:10 showing on the scoreboard. Out of a timeout, DaSilva knocked down a jumper with 39.8 seconds left to play to reclaim the lead for the Bears. An offensive foul at the other end of the floor gave the ball back to Bridgewater State. Melton knocked down two free throws with 14 seconds remaining after the Gulls were forced to foul. A layup by Kiernan with 4/10 of a second remaining accounted for the final tally of 52-50.
Bridgewater shot 41% (20-49) from the floor for the game and knocked down 9 of 13 (69%) free throw attempts. The Bears also converted 3 of 11 (27%) three-pointers.
Endicott shot just 33% (18-54) from the floor and went 0-for-12 from behind the arc. The Gulls did, however, knock down 14 of 17 (82%) free throw attempts.
The Bears (1-0) will advance to the tournament championships game and will take on Colby-Sawyer College on Saturday afternoon at three. The Gulls (0-1) will play in the consolation game on Saturday at one against Norwich University.