NEW LONDON, Conn. – Third-seeded Becker College led from wire to wire in a 75-50 victory over second-seeded Mitchell College on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Championship at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Cassidy Harrison (Foxborough, Mass./Foxborough) scored 18 of her game-high 23 points in the first half as Becker (17-10 overall) advanced to the NECC title game for the first time in program history. The Hawks will play at top-seeded Newbury College on Saturday, February 24 at 2 p.m., and the winner will earn the conference crown and a NCAA berth.
Katey Anderson (Beachwood, N.J./Toms River) and Jazlyn Contreras (Pawtucket, R.I./St. Mary Academy Bay View) also scored in double digits for Becker with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Adrianna Dowdy (East Haven, Conn./Hill Regional Career) chipped in nine points, nine rebounds and four assists while Ciara McKissick (Charlton, Mass./Shepherd Hill Regional) finished with nine points in 12 minutes. The Hawks shot 53 percent as a team and held a 34-30 edge in rebounding.
Francesca Pinard (Arlington, Mass./Matignon) paced Mitchell with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Ashleigh Beauford (Newington, Conn./Newington) scored 13 points in the final game of her career while Marissa Sweeney (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) added 10 points and six boards. The Mariners, who shot 33 percent and committed 29 turnovers, finished the season with an overall record of 12-14.
The Hawks took care of business early, using full-court pressure to create turnovers and easy scoring opportunities. Becker forced five turnovers in the opening 3:20 and scored the first 10 points of the contest. Harrison and Anderson buried threes on back-to-back possessions to get things started, and a jumper by Dowdy later capped the spurt at the 7:24 mark.
Mitchell finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a jumper by Sweeny but couldn't make much of a dent in the deficit. The Hawks led 21-9 by the end of the quarter and never looked back.
Harrison netted 10 points in the second quarter alone as the Becker lead swelled to as many as 17. The Hawks took a 40-24 lead into the locker room at the break. Sweeney led Mitchell with 10 points at intermission.
Becker outscored Mitchell 22-8 in the third quarter to cement the victory. The Hawks took their largest lead of the game in the closing seconds of the stanza when a lay-up by Contreras made it 62-30.