NOR'EASTERS PLAY TOUGH GAME TO KEEP REGIS FROM BECOMING CHAMPIONS

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- The top-seeded University of New England women's basketball team led from start-to-finish on its way to a 75-62 victory over No. 3 Regis College to claim the 2010 The Commonwealh Coast Conference Championship.

The Nor'easters (23-5), winners of their second TCCC title since joining the league in 1999, await word on who and where they will be playing for the first round of the NCAA Division III National Championship. The bracket for the field of 64 will be unveiled Monday, March 1 at 12:30 ET on www.NCAA.com

UNE sophomore guard Kelley Paradis (Newport, Maine) led all scorers with 19 points, including three 3-point field goals. Sophomore forward Margo Russell (Madison, Maine) recorded her fifth double-double with 17 points and a career-best 16 rebounds. Junior forward Chelsey Meszaros (North Clarendon, Vt.) contributed 10 points on a tidy 4-for-5 performance from the floor. She made a pair of shots from downtown in the second half.

Regis got 16 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks from junior forward Sarah McNult (Hampstead, N.H.). Sophomore Meagan Tobin (Quincy, Mass.) scored 12 points and junior guard Brittany White (Dorchester, Mass.) added 10.

The Nor'easters stormed out to a 18-6 lead 7:47 into the contest. Paradis connected on a pair of shots from beyond the arc to help get the Nor'easters started.

After a bucket by Tobin, UNE first-year guard Liz LeBlanc (Jay, Maine) made a pair of treys to help the Nor'easters extend their lead over the next few minutes. Junior guard Carrie Bunnell (Barnet, Vt.) sank a pair of free throws to provide the hosts with a 28-14 cushion with 7:46 on the clock.

Regis would respond by reeling off 11 consecutive points to close within three at 28-25. All five starters scored for Regis during the outburst, which culminated with a jumper by sophomore guard Stephanie Crawford (Rockland, Mass.) at the 5:13 mark.

Big Blue fought right back with a surge of their own, outscoring Regis 9-2 over the next 2:43 to forge at 37-27 lead. The Nor'easters would go on to take a 41-29 lead into intermission.

Russell converted a layup to start the second half and push the Nor'easters' advantage to 14. Regis would chip away over the next eight minutes, closing to within five (53-48) on a McNult jumper at the 11:25 mark.

A layup by Paradis and a three-ball from Meszaros got the UNE advantage back to double digits. The Pride would get no closer than seven the rest of the way. The Nor'easters made 10 of 12 free throw attempts over the final two minutes to help seal the deal.

The Nor'easters shot a solid 48 percent (24 of 50) for the game, including a 16-for-31 (51.6 percent) performance in the first half. UNE knocked down 8 of its 19 (42.1 percent) of its shots from beyond the arc for the afternoon.

Regis shot a respectable 40.7 percent (24 of 59) from the floor but was just 5 of 18 (27.8 percent) from three-point land.

The Pride (19-9) await word on a possible ECAC bid and will learn their fate Monday afternoon.

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