DURHAM, N.H. – Making her first start of the season, junior guard Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) set a career high with 16 points and four three-pointers in the first half alone, finishing with 18 points to lead the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a convincing, 75-63, victory over Quinnipiac University Wednesday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) notched her second double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, and Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) matched a career high with 14 points.
Wells, who was named the America East Player of the Game, tallied her 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-7 from deep. Her four three point field goals were also a career best.
Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) registered eight points, five boards, and matched her career high for the second time this season with seven assists in the win. Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and two blocks.
UNH (2-7), which snapped a six-game skid while improving to 2-1 on its home floor, shot 49 percent (25-of-51) for the game and hit a season-best 50 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 12 three-point field goals on 24 tries.
New Hampshire raced out to a 14-2 lead in the opening seven minutes of play, as Quinnipiac (3-7) missed its first 13 field-goal attempts. The Wildcats led by as many as 20 points in the first half before entering the intermission with a 41-23 advantage.
Following UNH's 14-2 run to kick off the action, the Wildcats would add to their lead when Wells banged in a trifecta to spark a 13-8 scoring stretch in favor of the home team that extended the lead to 14.
Quinnipiac would respond with a 7-1 run, cutting the score to 28-20 in favor of the 'Cats, as Ellen Cannon capped off the run with a 3-pointer at 8:54.
Following a 2:12 scoreless streak between both squads, Beliveau got things started for the Wildcats once again, sinking a 3-pointer that set off a 13-3 run that closed out the first half, giving New Hampshire an 18-point lead at the break.
Cannon sank a three to start the second stanza, but it was all UNH for the next 4:05, posting a 12-8 run that was once again sparked by a Beliveau 3-pointer, extending the lead to its highest margin of the contest with a 53-31 advantage with 15:11 remaining.
However, the Bobcats would come back strong midway through the stanza, cutting the lead to seven points, finishing off the run on a Brittany McQuain jumper with 3:20 to play.
The two teams would remain scoreless for the next 1:23, until Wells sealed the game for UNH, driving to the free throw line and draining a shot with two defenders in her face to set the score at 68-59 with 1:37 to play. That jumper gave the 'Cats much needed life, as it sparked a 9-4 scoring run to close out the contest and preserve the win.
Jacinda Dunbar, Courtney Kaminski and Cannon led the Bobcats with 14 points apiece in the loss.
Following the Christmas holiday, the Wildcats return to action against St. Joseph's University, the host school of the 20th annual Hawk Classic in Philadelphia, Pa., at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 28.