FITCHBURG, Mass. -- The Fitchburg State University women's basketball team defeated the visiting Bears of Bridgewater State University, 62-59, in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) contest on Saturday afternoon at Parkinson Gymnasium.
The host Falcons improve to 9-16 on the season and 3-9 in the MASCAC, while the Bears fall to 10-15 overall and 6-6 in conference play. The game marked the regular season finale for both squads. The two teams will meet again next Tuesday night at seven in Bridgewater as the MASCAC Tournament gets underway with quarterfinal round action. Bridgewater State is the #3 seed while Fitchburg State is seeded sixth.
Freshman Mikaela Mitchell (Millbury, Mass.) posted a double-double of 15 points and eleven rebounds to lead the way for Fitchburg State, while senior Michaela McTomney (Bellingham, Mass.) added seven points and a game-high 14 boards.
Senior Chanelle Melton (Brockton, Mass.) paced Bridgewater State with 14 points and five caroms, while junior Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) contributed seven points and a team-high ten rebounds off the bench. Junior Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) checked in with nine points and three steals.
Bridgewater State took an early 7-2 advantage on a three-pointer by senior Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) and buckets from Melton and sophomore Kayla Carter (Beverly, Mass.) before the Falcons responded with a pair of layups by senior Mercy Frimpong (Worcester, Mass.) to give the hosts a 15-13 margin.
The score was tied 15-15 after the first quarter. The Falcons used an 11-3 run late in the second quarter to take a 36-26 lead. Mitchell scored eight of the 11 points during the spurt including a pair of three-pointers. DaSilva ended the run with a trifecta with time winding down in the half to cut the deficit to 36-29 as the two teams headed to the locker room.
The Bears scored the first nine points of the third quarter and held the Falcons scoreless for over 4 ½ minutes. Melton scored four points and senior Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) capped off the run with a three-pointer. Sophomore Angelina Marazzi (Manchester, N.H.) ended the Fitchburg scoring drought with a three-ball as the visitors reclaimed the lead. A pair of trifectas by junior Mikala Malboeuf (Fitchburg, Mass.) and one by Mitchell helped the Falcons take a 49-44 advantage into the final quarter of play.
A 9-0 BSU run over the first five minutes of the fourth, highlighted by six points from Melton, gave the Bears a 53-49 lead. Bridgewater, however, would go just 2-for-7 from the floor and 1-for-6 at the free throw line the rest of the way.
A jumper by McTomney with 1:09 remaining knotted the score at 56-56. After a stop, Mitchell knocked down a jumper to give the Falcons a 58-56 lead. Marazzi then sank a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game. DaSilva drained a clutch three-pointer to cut the deficit to 60-59 with nine seconds left to play. The Bears fouled and got the ball back with 6.4 seconds showing on the scoreboard after Fitchburg missed the two ensuing free throws. However, the potential game-winning shot, a left-handed runner in the paint, was off the mark. Malboeuf made a pair of free throws to round out the scoring as the Falcons came away with the 62-59 victory.
Fitchburg State shot 22-of-57 (38.6%) from the field and 50% (12-for-24) from three point range. Bridgewater State went 23-of-59 (39%) overall, including 4-for-12 (33%) from beyond the arc. BSU's free throw shooting proved costly as the Bears went just 9-for-20 (45%) at the charity stripe.
Fitchburg State controlled the glass, holding a 50-31 margin on the boards with a 20-13 advantage on the offensive glass.
The BSU defense forced 22 turnovers, but the Bears scored just 15 points off the Falcons' miscues.
The game marked the 65th meeting between the two schools as the Bears hold a 50-15 edge in the all-time series. Bridgewater had won the last seven matchups, including a 75-55 decision earlier this season at the Tinsley Center.