BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Senior forward Chanelle Melton (Brockton, Mass.) tallied 14 points and six rebounds to lead the third-seeded Bridgewater State University Bears to a 67-47 victory over #6 Fitchburg State University in the opening round of the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Women's Basketball Tournament on Tuesday night at the Tinsley Center.
The host Bears (11-15) advance to the MASCAC Tournament semifinals and will travel to #3 seed Framingham State University on Thursday evening. Tip-off is slated for 6:00 PM. The visiting Falcons end the season with an overall record of 9-17.
The game marked the first time that the two teams met in the MASCAC Tournament since 2003. The Bears are 51-15 all-time against the Falcons including 4-1 in conference tournament play.
Melton connected on 6 of 11 field goal attempts and recorded two assists, a blocked shot and three steals. Her second rebound of the game marked the 500th of her career.
Senior guard Jennifer Whyte (Braintree, Mass.) added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bears, while junior guard Olivia DelGrosso (Ledyard, Conn.) notched nine points and three boards. Junior guard Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) checked in with eight points, two rebounds, three assists and a game-high five steals.
Sophomore guard Angelina Marazzi (Manchester, N.H.) paced the visiting Falcons with 13 points to go along with three boards and a pair of assists.
The Bears used a 20-0 run in the first quarter to turn a six-point deficit (10-4) into a 24-10 lead. Sixteen of the 20 points came on layups with DelGrosso leading the charge with six points. Bridgewater would hold a 26-12 advantage at the end of one. The Bears shot 65% (11-17) in the first quarter, while the Falcons connected on just 3 of 12 field goal attempts and turned the ball over eight times.
Bridgewater outscored Fitchburg 14-10 in the second quarter to make it a 40-22 game at the break.
DelGrosso and Whyte led all players with nine points in the first half. Fitchburg had 14 turnovers over the first 20 minutes.
An 8-1 run to start the third quarter on four points apiece from Melton and DaSilva gave the Bears a commanding 48-23 lead. Bridgewater got up by as many as 28 points (55-27) in the third and took a 56-29 advantage into the final period.
The BSU lead did not get below 20 in the fourth quarter as the Bears cruised to the 67-47 victory.
Bridgewater shot 39% (27-69) for the game and went 10-for-13 (77%) at the free throw line. The Bears' suffocating defense forced 24 turnovers and limited the Falcons to just 26% (26%) shooting for the game. Neither squad shot the ball well from outside as the two teams combined to go 7-for-42 (17%) from behind the arc. BSU held a 22-7 edge in points off turnovers.