Women’s Basketball Pulls Away for GNAC Victory

Women’s Basketball Pulls Away for GNAC Victory

WESTON, Mass. – After a close first half that featured five ties and eight lead changes, Regis College was able to hold onto its halftime lead throughout the third quarter and then pull away in the final 10 minutes for a 73-61 victory over Rivier University Saturday afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference women's basketball game at Higgins Court.

Valerie Martin (Derry, N.H.) nearly earned her second straight double-double, leading the Pride with 19 points to go along with nine rebounds. Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) did notch a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds, plus she blocked three shots, while Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) added 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Regis opened a 7-2 lead two minutes into the first quarter, but Rivier went on its own 7-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Ciera Clark, to tie the game at 9-9. After a three-pointer by Bitinaitis, the Raiders went on an 8-3 scoring run, punctuated by a three-pointer from Kaylee Kacavas, to pull ahead, 17-15.

The Pride was able to take a 19-17 lead into the second quarter thanks to a layup by Sam D'Angelo (Woburn, Mass.) and two free throws from Bitinaitis. Rivier scored the first eight points of the second period, with Kacavas earning six of those points, to take its biggest lead of the night at 25-19 one-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter.

Down 34-28 with four minutes left in the first half after two Kacavas free throws, Regis put together a 12-2 scoring run, starting with consecutive three-pointers by Maura Russell (Braintree, Mass.) and Martin. Baskets by Bitinaitis and Veasey in the final minute gave the Pride a 40-36 advantage at halftime.

Clark opened the second half with a three-pointer to close the Raider deficit to one, but Regis responded with nine straight points, capped by a three-pointer from Russell. After two free throws by Martin, Kacavas hit a three-pointer and converted a traditional three-point play to once again bring the Raiders within one at 54-53, but layups by Bitinaitis and Arie Searcy (Santa Rosa, Calif.) allowed the Pride to extend their lead to 58-54 after three quarters.

Rivier (3-16, 1-8 GNAC) once again closed to within one at the start of the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Elizabeth Meehan, but a putback by Veasey and a three-pointer from Martin kept the Raiders at arm's length. Regis outscored Rivier 10-2 in the final six minutes of regulation to clinch the victory.

Kacavas led all players with 34 points, shooting 11-of-25 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line, plus she dished out three assists and earned five steals. Clark collected 13 points and eight rebounds, while Meehan added 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

As a team, Rivier shot 31.8 percent (21-of-66) from the field, including 9-of-26 from behind the three-point line, and 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from the free throw line. The Raiders travel to Lasell Thursday, Feb. 7, before hosting Simmons next Saturday, Feb. 9.

The Pride shot 37.7 percent (26-of-69) from the field, including 8-of-19 from behind the three-point line, and 65 percent (13-of-20) from the free throw line. Regis dominated the rebounding battle, 56-41, including 17 offensive rebounds, as Searcy also reached double figures with 12 boards. Each team committed just 11 turnovers.

Regis (9-13, 5-4 GNAC) is off until next Saturday, Feb. 9, hosting Albertus Magnus starting at 1 p.m. at Higgins Court. Before the game, seniors D'Angelo, Chayla Louro (Randolph, Mass.), and Russell will be recognized in a Senior Day presentation.