BOSTON, Mass. – Despite a career-high 23 points from freshman Stephanie Mini (Topsfield, Mass.), the University of New England staged a late comeback to down the Wentworth women's basketball team, 68-65, Tuesday evening inside Tansey Gymnasium.
The Nor'easters stay atop the conference at 13-2 and improve to 17-5 overall, while the Leopards dip to 1-14 against league opponents and 2-20 this season.
Both teams battled back-to-back in the opening quarter, as the game showed three ties before Mini drained a three-pointer to lead UNE 9-6. Sophomore Jocelyn Chaput (Nashua, N.H.) answered with two points in the paint, but Mini knocked down four free throws to keep a five-point advantage with 3:22 left in the first. Senior Courtney McCormick (Hanson, Mass.) gave Wentworth a 15-10 cushion, before UNE closed the first stanza with four unanswered points, trailing the Leopards 15-14 after the first ten minutes.
The Leopards never surrendered the lead in the first half, and shot 50% from behind the arc in the second quarter for a 31-25 advantage heading into the break. Mini scored six points throughout the second frame– including two baskets from long range – while sophomore Sam McGibbon (Pembroke, Mass.) accounted for the remaining trey.
UNE pulled within a single point 4:48 into the second half, as sophomore Ashley Coneys (Dover, N.H.) knocked down two free throws to trail 39-38. Wentworth fired back with consecutive treys from Mini and McGibbon and used a 10-2 run to lead 49-40 with 3:30 left in the quarter. The Leopards stayed hot on the floor and took their largest lead of 15 points, 56-41, with a minute left until the final ten. Junior Michelle McCloskey (Madison, Conn.) kept the 15-point margin with a layup as nine seconds remained on the clock, before freshman Faith Connors (North Andover, Mass.) beat the buzzer with a three-pointer to trail Wentworth 58-46.
Freshman Elyssa Nicholas (Southborough, Mass.) was the deciding factor for UNE in the fourth quarter, pouring in a game-high 13 points to erase the double-digit deficit. Senior Sam MacDonald (Lebanon, N.H.) ignited the lead switch with two made baskets from the line, as UNE held on until the final buzzer sounded.
Mini was just shy of a double-double with eight rebounds next to her game-high 23 points, while McGibbon poured in 16 points, including 12 from long range. Senior Haley Sabino (Topsfield, Mass.) rounded out double-digit scoring with 10 points and pulled down eight boards.
Four Nor'easters finished in double figures on the scoreboard, led by Nicholas with 18 points. Coneys and MacDonald scored 14 points apiece, while Coneys led UNE on the glass with 13 boards.
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