Mass. College Hoops: Sunday’s D3 Conference Tournament Championship Preview

By Matt Noonan 

Four local Division 3 conference tournament championships will occur this afternoon and below is a preview of each contest.

Men’s NESCAC Championship: No. 1 Amherst vs. No. 2 Williams @ Amherst, Mass. / 12 p.m.: For the third time this season, Amherst and Williams will meet on the hardwood, but this particular contest will determine the NESCAC champion. Aaron Toomey poured in a game-best 36 points yesterday as the Lord Jeffs defeated Trinity, 80-62. As for the Ephs, they defeated Middlebury, 78-75. Williams rallied from an 11-point deficit at the break to defeat the Panthers and received 27 points from Michael Mayer. Amherst and Williams met last season in the title round with the Lord Jeffs edging the Ephs, 74-73. Williams is number one in conference play in points per game (81.3), while Amherst is second (78.6). Amherst is currently on a seven-game winning streak is undefeated at home this season, while Williams has won 10 straight, including two conference tournament contests. The Ephs are 10-1 away from Williamstown.

Women’s NESCAC Championship: No. 1 Tufts vs. No. 2 Amherst @ Medford, Mass. / 12 p.m.: The Jumbos will attempt to capture their first conference crown. Tufts has appeared in three conference finals (2007, 2008 and 2012), but hasn’t been able to attain some hardware. Against the Bantams of Trinity, the Jumbos used a second half surge to earn a 57-47 victory. Tufts’ Hayley Kanner led all players with 19 points, while Michela North chipped in 10 points off the bench. Amherst trailed Bowdoin, 20-16, at intermission, but outscored the Polar Bears during the final 20 minutes, 29-22. Ali Doswell, who led Amherst and all scorers with 15 points, secured the win for the Lord Jeffs by sinking one of two free throws during the final seconds. Amherst and Tufts met in Medford a few weeks ago with the Jumbos prevailing, 63-56. Amherst hadn’t lost until that particular contest. The Jumbos have won 25 of 26 contests this season, their only blemish occurred in a non-conference clash against Babson College on Tuesday, February 11.

Men’s NEWMAC Championship: No. 3 Springfield vs. No. 4 MIT @ Worcester, Mass. / 1 p.m.: MIT used an early second half run against host WPI to secure a spot in the title game, while Sean Martin‘s layup at the end of the second session provided a spark for Springfield to defeat Babson in overtime. Both teams split their season series, so the winner of today’s match will win the 2013-14 series. MIT received 14 points and 14 rebounds from Matt Redfield, along with 16 points from Justin Pedley. MIT recorded 28 defensive rebounds and eight caroms on the offensive end. Springfield sank a variety of important shots down the stretch against the Beavers, including a triple in the second half from Nick Sienkiewicz and trifecta in overtime from Nick McKenna. MIT is 5-4 since the first day of February, while Springfield is appearing in its third straight conference championship.

Women’s NEWMAC Championship: No. 1 Smith vs. No. 6 Springfield @ Northampton, Mass. / 1 p.m.: The Pioneers secured a spot in the championship by defeating the Beavers, a squad that’s 4-1 all-time against Smith in postseason play. Paulina Solis registered a team-high 17 points for Smith against Babson, while Mandy Castro added 14 points off the bench. The Pioneers have been to the tournament championship in prior seasons, but have never won a NEWMAC crown. Springfield earned a spot in the title game following back-to-back wins against Coast Guard and Wheaton. The Pride earned a two-point lead at the break before outscoring the Lyons in the second half, 43-30. Jamie Bickelhaupt paced Springfield with 20 points, while Emily Gins registered a game-best 12 boards. Springfield hasn’t won a tournament championship since 2006.

Mass. College Hoops: Smith Tops Emerson, Claims NEWMAC Regular Season Crown

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Smith College sports information department, here’s today’s release about the women’s basketball team, which defeated Emerson College on the road and claimed the NEWMAC regular season crown:

BOSTON, Mass. – Paulina Solis reached the 1,000-point milestone courtesy of a game-high 16 points to lead the Smith College basketball team to the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title with an 81-68 victory over Emerson on Saturday afternoon.

The Pioneers earned their first outright regular season crown and snapped Babson’s four-year run. Prior to this season, Smith had claimed a share of the NEW 8 title in 1988-89 along with Brandeis, Wheaton and WPI. The conference office will release the official tournament pairings later today.

Solis became the 11th Smith student-athlete to reach the milestone and fourth in three years. She joins Phoebe Jacob and teammate Rosa Drummond, who also reached the plateau as a junior, as well as Dasen Woitkowski who did it in three years as a Pioneer after transferring from UMass.

Smith standouts also included Sydney Parkmond (15 points, 7 rebounds) and Drummond (15 points). Lions were led by Kelsey Johnson (13 points, 7 rebounds), Kristin Brice (12 points, 6 rebounds) and Elissa Chojnicki (12 points, 7 assists, 3 steals).

The Pioneers finished 15-10 and 15-5 against NEWMAC opponents. In their first season of NEWMAC play, the Lions posted a 9-16 record and went 4-16 in-conference play.

The Lions spread the wealth along the way to a 40-39 halftime lead. Kelsey Johnson, Kristin Brice, and Elissa Chojnicki scored eight points apiece, with bench support from Catherine Cloutier, who scored seven points in the first half. EC faced a tough defense in Smith. Emerson capitalized on every opportunity given, and were perfect from the free-throw line in the opening half. As a team, the Lions shot an astounding 62.5% from the field, and went 4-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.

It was a back-and-forth affair from the jump, with Smith leading by a slight margin until Cloutier drained a 3-pointer to tie it up at 14-all with 13:21 remaining. Janissa Delzo scored a quick four points, converting on two free-throw shots and driving for a layup in the paint to bring EC ahead 28-23 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.

The second half featured tough defense from both teams. The Lions kept it close until the 7:00 mark, when Smith began to pull ahead as their all their shots seemed to fall, including a late triple by Solis to punctuate the win.

Mass. College Hoops: Hersey Nets 100th Win As Smith Tops Mount Holyoke

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Smith College sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the Pioneers, who defeated Mount Holyoke College and delivered their head coach, Lynn Hersey, her 100th with with the program:

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Rosa Drummond scored 18 points and pulled down 11 defensive rebounds to notch her third consecutive double-double as the Smith College basketball team defeated visiting Mount Holyoke 63-56 on Wednesday night in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference matchup inside Ainsworth Gym.

With the win, Smith, who improved to 9-10 on the year and 9-5 in the conference, delivered Lynn Hersey her 100th victory as the Pioneers head coach. Mount Holyoke, meanwhile, moved to 5-14 on the season and 2-12 in the loop.

Paulina Solis and Sydney Parkmond each scored in double figures with 13 and 11, respectively, Jazmine Collins hauled in six boards and doled out a career-high five assists while Alyssa Barrett chipped in with a career-best four steals for the Pioneers.

Mount Holyoke was led by Kate Karraker with 15 points and Amber Legare, who narrowly missed a double-double, with 15 points and nine boards. Genelle Green tacked on 10 points for the Lyons as Nicole DeMarchena was credited with four swipes.

After trading early buckets, Karraker sparked a 12-2 run that saw Green push the Lyons lead to 10 with a layup just over five minutes into the contest. Nearly two-and-a-half minutes later, Drummond began a Pioneer 12-2 run with a traditional three-point play. She went on to tie the game at 16-all with a pair of freebies with under nine minutes left in the half. After the Pioneers took a pair of four-point leads, DeMarchena combined with Jennine Vizcaino to take the 24-22 lead with 3:36 to go in the stanza. After a Legare jumper to make it a four-point game, Solis and Drummond teamed up to give the hosts a 29-26 advantage heading into the break.

The Pioneers slowly built a double-digit lead and were up by as much as 15 (52-37) following a triple by Mandy Castro midway through the second half. The Lyons then used a 12-3 run to get within six with 3:34 to go. The trio of Drummond, Parkmond and Solis pushed the advantage back to 11 before Legare and Green each hit a layup and Karraker drained a free throw to make it a six-point ballgame with under a minute left. The Pioneers sank three free throws and DeMarchena countered with a layup in the waning moments for the 63-56 final.

Both squads host league games on Saturday as Smith hosts first-place Wellesley at 2:00 p.m. and Mount Holyoke entertains MIT at 1:00 p.m.

Mass. College Hoops: Sunday Afternoon/Evening Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

Due to the Blizzard of 2013, numerous college basketball games were postponed to Sunday afternoon and evening. And below is a quick roundup from the various conference tilts.

Men’s Basketball:

Columbia 78, Harvard 63 – The Crimson saw their four-game winning streak conclude, as the Lions outscored the visitors, 40-29 during the second stanza, which earned them their first win against Harvard in their last eight meetings. Harvard’s Wesley Saunders netted a career-best 27 points in the setback.

Duke 62, Boston College 61Despite being tied at 27 after one session, the Blue Devils managed to tally an additional point in the second, which lifted them past the Eagles in Chestnut Hill. BC’s Olivier Hanlan tallied a game-high 20 points in the win, while Ryan Anderson finished with 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Southern New Hampshire 85, UMass Lowell 73The River Hawks were no match for their opponent; as the Penmen outscored the hosts, 51-33 during the final stanza to secure their 13th overall win of the season. Akeem Williams, who finished the contest with a game-high 24 points, paced UMass Lowell in the setback.

Amherst College 65, Williams College 48 – Allen Williamson recorded 16 points, Aaron Toomey netted 14 points and Willy Workman added 13 points, as the visiting Lord Jeffs topped the Ephs for the second time this season. Williams’ Michael Mayer led all scorers with a game-high 17 points.

Case Western Reserve 56, Brandeis University 46 – The Judges couldn’t overcome an eight-point deficit at the break, as the Spartans handed their conference foe their sixth loss of the season. Brandeis’ Youri Dascy led all players with 16 points, while Gabriel Moton recorded 12 points.

Women’s Basketball:

Harvard 69, Cornell 60 (OT) – Victoria Lippert tallied 19 points, Christine Clark chipped in 15 points, and Temi Fagbenle finished with 12 points, as the Crimson defeated the visiting Big Red in overtime and earned their 13th win of the season.

Bentley University 61, St. Anselm 21The Falcons picked up their 21st win of the season, as well as held the Hawks to just eight points in the second half. Courtney Finn led all scorers with 13 points, while Jacqui Brugliera and Kelsey Roberson each netted 11 points.

Stonehill College 67, Merrimack College 55The Skyhawks snapped their one-game skid by earning their 18th overall win of the season. Stonehill’s Tori Faieta led all scorers with 17 points, while Asia Ewing and Mary Louise Dixon tallied 16 points, respectively. Shelby Secor, who registered 11 points, led Merrimack.   

Williams College 71, Amherst College 51 – Claire Baecher filled the stat sheet with 30 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, as well as one assist and one steal, which helped the Ephs defeat the Lord Jeffs in Williamstown.

Babson College 73, Smith College 52 – The Beavers sank 30 of 50 shots from the field and received 22 points and 15 rebounds from Sarah Collins, as Babson defeated Smith College for the second time this season. Paulina Solis led the Pioneers with 17 points off the bench.

Framingham State 74, MCLA 63 – Madeleine Park reached the 1,000-point plateau on a three-pointer at the beginning of the game, as well as finished with 17 points, which helped the Rams get past the Trailblazers. Samantha Irvine led Framingham State with 18 points and 11 boards.

Mass. College Hoops: Wednesday Night Roundup

By NoontimeSports.com 

There were a few interesting outcomes in the college basketball world on Wednesday evening, and below are highlights from the various contests.

Men’s Basketball:

UMass 61, La Salle 60 Chaz Williams sealed the victory for UMass with a layup with eight seconds remaining, as the Minutemen defeated the Explorers by one point. UMass is now 14-5 overall, 4-2 in Atlantic-10 play. Raphiael Putney paced the Minutemen with a team-high 17 points.

Georgia State 78, Northeastern 73 – The Huskies earned their first Colonial Athletic Association setback, as the Panthers clawed back from a seven-point deficit at the break to earn an important road win. R.J. Hunter led all scorers with 27 points with five rebounds, while Northeastern was paced by Reggie Spencer’s 17 points.

Army 80, Holy Cross 66 – The Knights tallied 38 points in the opening session and 42 during the final 20 minutes, which helped them earn their 10th win of the season and drop the Crusaders to 10-11 overall, 2-4 in the Patriot League. Ella Ellis came off the bench for Army and led all scorers with 23 points, while Justin Burrell netted a team-high 14 points for the Crusaders.

WPI 66, Babson College 43 – The Engineers extended their winning streak to 20 games, as they defeated the Beavers for the second time in Babson Park. Ryan Kolb led the unit with 17 points, while Aaron Davis and Sam Longwell each netted 11 points.

MIT 70, Wheaton College 57 – The Engineers earned their third consecutive win by downing the visiting Lyons by 13 points. Paul Dawson paced MIT off the bench with 14 points, while Wheaton’s Brian Johnson recorded a game-high 17 points.

Springfield College 58, Coast Guard 45 – Springfield snapped its two-game skid and received 18 points from Alex Berthiaume in their 15th win of the season.  

Women’s Basketball:

Holy Cross 51, Army 46 – Alex Smith scored a game and season-high 21 points and connected on five triples, which helped the Crusaders earn their 10th win of the season and second in the Patriot League. Amy Lepley scored 12 points and recorded four rebounds and two assists.

Babson College 52, Wellesley College 48 – The Beavers overcame a two-point deficit at halftime to defeat the Blue on the Road by four points. Sarah Collins led all scorers with 16 points and tallied eight rebounds, while Erin Young sank three triples.

Smith College 79, Springfield College 44 – Paulina Solis and Alyssa Barrett each netted 22 points, as the Pioneers cruised to a 35-point victory.

Wheaton College 34, WPI 32 – The Lyons received 12 points from Abbie Brickley and six from Kiley Shoemaker en route to their eighth win of the season.

Mount Holyoke 61, Clark University 59 – Angelica Pascual tallied a game-high 22 points, including six trifectas, as the Lyons defeated the visiting Cougars.    

VIDEO: After fending off WPI during the closing seconds, Wheaton College’s women’s basketball head coach Melissa Hodgdon chats about the Lyons important conference win.