First matchup of last season's finalists goes in favor of Nor'easters
BIDDEFORD, Maine - Senior Kelley Paradis (Newport, Maine) scored 15 of her season-high 24 points during a 28-16 stretch to close the game, giving the University of New England women's basketball team a 68-56 victory over Salve Regina University in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the newly-named James A. Beaudry Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
Big Blue improves to 4-1 (2-0 CCC) on the season, while the Seahawks fall to 2-3 (1-1 CCC).
Paradis connected on 10-of-15 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 from deep, to pace the Nor'easters, and added three blocks. Junior Beth Suggs (Bath, Maine) finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and senior Margo Russell (Madison, Maine) tallied 10 points -- eight on free throws -- to go with five assists.
Sophomore Lauren Rousseau (Biddeford, Maine) saw her first action of the year and ended with nine points, while first-year Kendra Dawless (West Greenwich, R.I.) put forth her best effort on the young season, going for seven points and five boards. UNE closed the contest with a 45-34 edge in the rebounding department.
For Salve Regina, sophomore Marissa Pendergast (Medfield, Mass.) notched game highs in points (27) and rebounds (10), and made 13-of-18 shot attempts from the floor. Senior Lindsay Shorey (Ashland, Mass.) and junior Kaitlyn Birrell (Hope, R.I.) each added nine points, while Birrell also registered an impressive career-high 14 assists and five steals.
The Nor'easters came out of halftime with a four-point advantage (31-27), and built it up to seven on multiple occasions during the early-going of the second period before the Seahawks pulled back even (40-40) with 13:35 to play.
Paradis recorded the next five, and after Suggs and Pendergast traded the eight points that followed, a 9-1 Big Blue spurt extended the gap to 13 (58-45) with 5:04 left. Paradis had the first seven of the run for UNE.
Salve reduced the deficit to as little as eight three times the rest of the way, but could not get any closer. The final difference was equal to the made-free throw margin UNE ended with (16-4), while the visitors struggled shooting the ball from downtown, making just 2-of-14 tries in the game.
During the first half of action, the Seahawks saw a 4-0 lead answered by 13 straight points by Big Blue -- the last five in the stretch came on Rousseau's first two field goal attempts on the day.
SRU countered shortly after with a 15-0 run of its own -- spanning six minutes -- to go up 23-17. Shorey tallied the first six to begin to streak.
But again, UNE responded over the last 7:26 of the frame with 14 of the final 18 points to go up on the board, and possessed a 31-27 cushion at the break.
Both squads are back it with non-conference matches on Tuesday, as the Nor'easters pay a visit to nationally-ranked Colby College (7:30 p.m.) and the Seahawks make the short trip to Rhode Island College (5:30 p.m.).