DURHAM, N.H. -
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tied a career-high
scoring 18 points and pulling in a team-high nine rebounds, but it
was not enough, as the University of Louisville defeated the
University of New Hampshire women's basketball team, 76-67, Tuesday
night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
With the win the Cardinals snap a two-game losing streak, improving to 7-5 on the season. As for the Wildcats, they fall to 4-6 on the year.
McDonald was named America East Player of the Game for UNH, as she also added a career-high five blocks and two assists on the night.
The first four minutes of the action was a back-and-forth battle between both teams, which featured one lead change and three ties, until Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) snapped the knotted score with a layup to put the Wildcats up 8-6 at 16:19.
The basket by Beliveau triggered a 15-8 run by the ‘Cats, as Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) quickly followed the score setting up McDonald for a layup in the post. On UNH's next possession, Simpson was at it again, as she delivered a pass to Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) that led to another quick layup by the ‘Cats pushing the score to 12-8 in favor of the home team, with 13:46 remaining in the first half.
New Hampshire would build its lead further over the course of the next 2:07, as a 3-pointer by Diamon Beckford (Philadelphia, Pa.) and a layup by Simpson increased UNH's lead to eight, with the score 18-10 at 11:39.
Louisville would strike back cutting the deficit back down to four, as Keshia Hines and Nikki Hines scored back-to-back baskets, setting the score at 18-14 with 10:48 remaining.
However, UNH would catch fire once again late in the stanza as a Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) layup ignited a 15-8 run by the ‘Cats that pushed their lead to its largest margin of the half, with score 36-25 at 1:02.
Following the New Hampshire run, Ashley Rainey knocked down a pair of free throws and Monique Reid drilled a jumper with just two seconds remaining in the half, cutting the score to 36-29 at the intermission.
The Wildcats picked up right where they left off in the second stanza jumping out with seven unanswered points, led by a pair of layups by Williams and a 3-pointer by Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.).
Becky Burke ended the stretch knocking down a trifecta, but New Hampshire kept pace as McDonald buried a pair of free throws and scored on a layup on back-to-back trips up the floor to give UNH its largest lead of the game setting the score at 47-33 with 16:56 remaining.
Louisville began to pick up the pieces on the ensuing possession, as Monique Reid knocked down a pair of free throws that led to six unanswered points, cutting the lead down to eight at 15:31.
Williams knocked down a jumper to break up the run at 15:04, but it was not enough to shut down the Cardinals as they pushed on with a 17-8 run, capped off with a 3-pointer from Burke, cutting UNH's lead down to five, with score set at 59-54 with 9:11 remaining.
For the next 3:11 the two squads traded baskets, until Louisville posted a 13-2 run to close out the action, holding New Hampshire scoreless for the remaining 2:28 of the game.
Williams finished the night with 18 points, four rebounds, two steals and an assist. With her 18-point output, she now has 1,007 points for her career, becoming just the 14th Wildcat in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Wells chipped in with 12 points and four steals.
As for the Cardinals, Reid led the way with 16 points and six boards. Burke added 14 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Wildcats return to action on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. when they take on Canisius College at Koessler Athletic Center.