ALBANY, N.Y. - Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) and Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) led five Wildcats in double figure scoring, netting 17 and 16 points, respectively, propelling the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to an 87-77 victory over the University at Albany on Friday night at the SEFCU Arena.
The Wildcats improve to 7-12 overall and 2-4 in America East play, while the Great Danes fall to 7-11 overall and 0-5 in conference action.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) (14), Candace Williams (Norfolk, Mass.) (12) and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) (12) rounded out UNH's double digit scorers. For New Hampshire, it was the first time five Wildcats registered in double figures since Dec. 20 against Holy Cross. In that game, Beliveau (20), McDonald (18), Williams (15), Amy Simpson (Waterford, Conn.) (10) and Racheal Fowler (Glassboro, N.J.) (10) all reached double-digit scoring.
In addition to netting a team-high 17 points, Beliveau took home America East Player of the Game honors for New Hampshire, finishing with eight rebounds and two steals. For Albany, Melia Basavand was named Player of the Game, registering 21 points, two boards and an assist.
The Wildcats started the game off with an 18-9 run, as Beliveau drew first blood with a trifecta, on a scoring stretch that last lasted nearly seven minutes. Beliveau finished off the run with another 3-pointer, before Charity Iromuanya answered back with a pair of free throws at 11:48.
UNH didn't slow up, coming back with seven unanswered points, as Flynn dropped in a pair of layups and Beliveau fired in a 3-pointer, to push the ‘Cats ahead 25-11 with 10:09 remaining in the frame.
For the next five minutes both teams would exchange baskets, until the Great Danes put together an 8-3 run, sparked by a Julie Forster layup and finished off with a pair of 3-pointers by Basavand, cutting the score to 40-28 in favor of the visitors at 3:09.
New Hampshire would continue to pile on the points in the closing moments of the first stanza, rolling off an 8-2 run to end the frame. Flynn led the way for the ‘Cats, pouring in all eight points, giving the visitors a 48-30 lead at the intermission.
The second frame began with both
teams continuing to exchange baskets, until Albany pieced together
an 11-2 run, featuring a flurry of scoring throughout the lineup,
cutting the deficit down to nine points, with the score set at
57-48 with 14:38 to play.
McDonald would ignite the ‘Cats with three points the old-fashioned-way, as she set off a 9-2 run that lasted just over three minutes, pushing UNH's lead to 66-50.
Led by a pair of 3-pointers by Basavand, Albany fired back with 10 unanswered points, cutting the lead down to its lowest point since the 14-minute mark in the first half, with the score 66-60 at 9:05.
Beliveau snapped the run with a jumper, as the ‘Cats netted eight unanswered points, on their way to a 16-4 run that lasted 4:19, pushing ahead by as many as 19, with the score 82-64.
Albany came back with a 13-5 scoring stretch to close out the action, but it was too little too late, as UNH held onto the victory.
In addition to scoring a career-high 16 points, Flynn also added eight rebounds and two blocks. Williams finished with seven rebounds and a career-high four assists. Simpson chipped in with seven boards, five assists and a career-high four blocks.
For Albany, Forster finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Iromuanya added 14 points, six boards, three assists and three steals.
The Wildcats return to action on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. when they travel to Binghamton to take on the Bearcats at the Events Center.