February 24, 2012

DANIEL WEBSTER UPSETS PRIDE, ADVANCES TO NECC CHAMPIONSHIP

WESTON, Mass. – Number three-seeded Daniel Webster College overcame an eight-point second half deficit to upend top-seeded Regis College, 66-63, in the Semifinals of the New England Collegiate Conference Championships on Friday night in Weston, Mass. The Eagles (19-8) advance to take on No. 2 seed Elms College in the NECC Championship on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on the campus of Regis College. The Pride drop to 21-5 and await word on a postseason berth.

Regis' Sabree Rodriguez (Brockton, Mass.) scored a game-high 22 points and added eight rebounds, while Claire Ramonas (Portland, Maine) posted a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds and added four steals to lead the Pride. The setback was the first loss of the season against an NECC opponent for Regis after the Pride went a perfect 18-0 in regular season conference play.

Daniel Webster received 20 points, seven rebounds, and eight assists from Sarah Paternostro (Glastonbury, Conn.) and Alyssa Marson (Augusta, Maine) came off the bench to knock down four triples en route to 16 points to lead the Eagles.

The Pride took an early 2-1 lead on an Emilee Marro (Bedford, N.H.) layup before Daniel Webster went on a 14-1 run over the next five minutes to take a 15-6 lead on Marson's first three-pointer of the contest. Regis slowly chipped away, trailing 20-17 at the 8:34 mark as Rodriguez buried a jumper, however a quick 6-0 spurt by the Eagles pushed it back to a nine point game at 26-17.

Regis quickly cut the deficit to three following back-to-back three pointers from Sabree Rodriguez and Lauren Kimble (Orinda, Calif.), and a fast-break layup from Janaya Bradley (New Haven, Conn.). Following Bradley's layup, the Pride ended the half on a 10-2 run to take a 35-30 lead into halftime.

Rodriguez led all scorers at the break with 16 points and added a pair of steals. Claire Ramonas scored four points – all from the charity stripe – and grabbed six rebounds. Stephanie Crawford (Rockland, Mass.), Bradley, and Marro each added four points apiece in the frame. Daniel Webster was paced by nine points from Kirsten Murphy (Woodstock, Conn.), while Paternostro chipped in with seven points and six assists.

Rodriguez scored the first five points of the period for the Pride as they took their largest lead of the game at 40-32 with 17:13 remaining in regulation. Daniel Webster responded with a 7-0 run of its own as Emily Travis (Somerset, Mass.) knocked down four free throws and Marson added another three pointer. A Ramonas jumper stopped the bleeding for the Pride and Regis eventually survived the run as a pair of Leah Murphy (Westborough, Mass.) free throws made it 52-45 with 10:10 remaining.

The Eagles soon began their comeback as Alycia Gervais (Windham, Conn.) made it a five point game before a three from Paternostro followed by a deep step-back three from Marson that tied the game at 53-all with 7:33 showing on the game clock. A pair of Gervais free throws just under a minute later gave the Eagles their first lead since the 2:43 mark of the opening half. Steph Crawford answered on the other end with a threeball from the top of the key to take back the lead and the teams traded scores before Marro was fouled while making a layup and nailed the free throw to give Regis a late four point lead with 2:20 remaining.

Paternostro had the answer for the Eagles as she buried back-to-back threes to give Daniel Webster a 63-61 lead at the 1:46 mark. Following a Rodriguez made free throw, Paternostro buried another jumper to push the DWC lead to three as the game entered the final minute.

Emilee Marro converted 1-of-2 freebies following an offensive rebound and a foul to make it a two point game. The Pride were forced to foul and put Kirsten Murphy on the line and the senior hit the first, but missed the second, giving Regis another shot and trailing 66-63. After a Regis timeout, Lauren Kimble took a contested three that missed its mark and DWC's Murphy was there for the defensive rebound – sealing the victory and the upset for the 4th-seeded Eagles.

The Pride suffered their second-worst shooting game of the season, shooting 22-of-71 (31%) from the floor, but won the turnover battle, committing only 11 missteps to Daniel Webster's 26. Regis picked up 15 steals on the night and turned those into 17 points. Daniel Webster shot an even 50% from the field (25-of-50) and knocked down 8-of-17 three-pointers in the victory. The Eagles also out-rebounded the Pride 43-35.

Joining Rodriguez and Ramonas in double-figures was Emilee Marro, who scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Stephanie Crawford scored seven points and added five assists and three steals in defeat.

Alycia Gervais and Kirsten Murphy scored 12 points apiece and combined for 10 rebounds. Emily Travis also added four points and eight rebounds with a pair of blocks off the bench.

Daniel Webster guns for its second-straight NECC Championship when the Eagles take on Elms College on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. on the campus of Regis College. The Blazers defeated Newbury College 78-65 in the other NECC Semifinal matchup also held on Friday night at Regis. The Pride await word on a postseason berth in the coming days.

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