Salve Regina rallies for its sixth win in a row
NEWPORT, R.I. - Salve Regina University women's basketball rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to score a 71-63 victory over defending The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) champions University of New England today at the Rodgers Recreation Center.
Salve Regina (11-3; 3-0 TCCC) had a brief one-point lead in the first half (5-4) after a free throw from senior forward Erin Phillips (Morristown, N.J.), but Nor'easter junior forward Margo Russell (Madison, Maine) came off the bench to help UNE build a 10-point advantage during a 25-14 run over nearly 15 minutes. Kari Pelletier (South Paris, Maine), Kelley Paradis (Newport, Maine), and April Mroz (Somersworth, N.H.) each hit a 3-pointer during the run.
An 8-0 run by Salve Regina came from a layup from junior forward Lindsay Shorey (Ashland, Mass.) and 3-point baskets from freshman guard Taylor Windwer (Milton, Mass.) and sophomore point guard Kaitlyn Birrell (Hope, R.I.).
University of New England (9-6; 2-1 TCCC), which defeated the Seahawks in the TCCC semifinals last season, regained the double-digit advantage (43-33) after a Russell layup three minutes into the second half.
Birrell then had three baskets during a 16-4 run for the Seahawks, who took the lead (49-47) on a 3-pointer from senior guard Kimberly Horan (Webster, Mass.) with under nine minutes remaining. Phillips followed with a defensive rebound and a layup at the other end.
Paradis and Russell sandwiched four free throws around a nifty play from Seahawk senior forward Victoria Audet (Broad Brook, Conn.). The lefty corralled a rebound off a desperation heave by Horan to beat the shot clock, and faked a pass out to the perimeter before finishing with a reverse layup.
Audet called for the ball on the next Seahawk possession and drained a jumper from the left free-throw line extended. Afterwards, she forced a Nor'easter turnover that allowed Birrell to find freshman forward Marissa Pendergast (Medfield, Mass.) for a layup and a six-point lead (57-51 with 5:05 left).
"I am very proud of the way we made adjustments, and took control in the second half," said Seahawk head coach Cori Hughes. "UNE came out strong, but we didn't panic and played with a lot of confidence. So many different players stepped up and made huge plays."
"Katie Birrell running the show and making some big shots and free throws; Kim Horan's 3s; Lindsay Shorey's offensive production and rebounds - it's great to have her back."
Hughes also praised the efforts of senior forward Olivia Browning (Trumbull, Conn.). "Her work inside and on the glass made a difference. Huge rebounds from Vicky Audet and, wow, that reverse! Erin Phillips was her usual self - playing great defense, and just shy of another double-double. It was a great team effort."
Phillips led the Seahawks with 15 points while Birrell and Shorey each finished with 14 points. Paradis and Russell led the Nor'easters with 16 points apiece and senior guard Carrie Bunnell (Barnet, Vt.) contributed 10 points. The Seahawks outrebounded the visitors overall (52-35) and 33-15 in the second half.
UNE hosts Eastern Nazarene on Wednesday while Salve Regina takes its six-game win streak to Nichols College.