BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Senior forward Chanelle Melton (Brockton, Mass.) scored 15 points, including the 1,000th of her career, to lead the Bridgewater State University women's basketball team to a 66-56 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) victory over visiting Worcester State University on Senior Night at the Tinsley Center.
The Bears improve to 10-14 on the season and 6-5 in the MASCAC, while the Lancers fall to 12-12 overall and 6-5 in conference play. The two teams are tied for third place in the MASCAC standings with one game remaining.
Melton connected on 5 of 12 field goals and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line as she became the 19th student-athlete in BSU women's basketball history to achieve the 1,000-point milestone. Melton, who now has 1,008 points in her career, also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds and added two blocked shots and a pair of steals.
Senior guard Rhiana Page (Brookline, Mass.) scored a team-high 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting for the Bears. Page also finished 4-for-5 at the free throw line and notched two rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.
Junior center Britt Herring (West Brookfield, Mass.) posted a double-double with game-high totals of 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the way for Worcester State. Herring, who was 8-for-10 from the floor, also blocked three shots and recorded a pair of steals. Senior guard Brianna Hackett (Hollis, N.H.) checked in with 12 points for the visitors.
The Bears led 33-22 at the break as Melton led all players with ten first-half points. The milestone basket, which came at the 3:28 mark of the second quarter, was part of a half ending 7-2 run capped off by a Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) trifecta. Bridgewater shot 47% (15-32) from the floor over the first 20 minutes and forced ten turnovers, while Worcester shot 42% (10-24).
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, back-to-back layups by Page and a Whyte jumper helped extend the BSU advantage to 15 (39-24). After Worcester scored six straight points to get the deficit back to single digits at 39-30, the Bears answered with an 8-0 run to take a 17-point lead (47-30) with 3 ½ minutes left to play in the period. Junior guard Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) scored four points during the spurt. Bridgewater would ultimately take a 49-35 advantage into fourth quarter.
Worcester chipped away at the deficit in the fourth as the Lancer defense held the Bears to just five points over the first seven minutes of the period. A three-pointer by Hackett pulled the visitors to within six, 56-50, with 2:46 left to play. Melton answered with a pair of free throws at the other end of the floor and, after a Worcester turnover, knocked down 1 of 2 at the line to push the BSU lead back up to nine, 59-50 with 1:52 remaining. Following a stop, Page buried a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 61-50 advantage with just 48 seconds showing on the scoreboard. Bridgewater would go 4-for-5 at the charity strip over the final 35 seconds to secure the 66-55 victory.
The Bears shot 44% (24-55) for the game and finished 16-for-21 (76%) at the line. Bridgewater also turned the ball over just nine times. The BSU defense forced 19 turnovers on the evening which led to a 20-8 edge in points off turnovers.
DaSilva finished with nine points for Bridgewater State, while Whyte tallied seven points on 3 of 5 shooting. Junior forward Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) contributed six points and seven rebounds including three offensive boards.
The Lancers, who shot 46% (25-54) on the evening, finished with a 39-27 rebounding advantage including a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass. Second chance points were 13-2 in Worcester's favor.
Both teams wrap up regular season play on Saturday afternoon at one. The Bears travel to Fitchburg State University, while the Lancers entertain Westfield State University.