Women's Basketball comes up just short to St. Joe's in 67-66 thriller

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Despite holding a one point advantage in the closing moments of the contest, the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team fell to St. Joseph's University, 67-66, in the first game of the 20th Annual Hawk Classic at Hagan Gymnasium Tuesday afternoon.

With the loss the Wildcats drop to 2-8 on the season, while the Hawks improve to 9-3. The Wildcats will wrap up the tournament against Quinnipiac University Wednesday at 2 p.m., while the Hawks take on Lafayette College in the championship game at 4 p.m.

Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) gave UNH the late edge, sinking a 3-pointer from the right wing off a feed from Jilliane Friel (Durham, N.H.) to set the score at 65-64 with 31 seconds remaining.

Next trip up the floor she put UNH on her back once again, slashing into the paint on the left side and sinking a step-back 10-footer in the paint to put the 'Cats up 66-65 with 13 seconds remaining. The Hawks would strike back on the ensuing possession, as Michelle Baker took the ball from the top of the key and drove left side and banked it in off the glass from the block to secure the win with three seconds on the clock.  

Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) led New Hampshire, tying her career high with 19 points, including 15 in the second half on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. She also registered four boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
Lauren Wells

Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) was UNH's only other double-digit scorer, as she tallied 12 points and pulled in a team-best seven rebounds. Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) added nine points, four boards and a career-high eight assists.

McDonald got things started for New Hampshire, scoring the game's first basket, dropping in a layup to setup a 10-5 run by the visitors. Wells capped off the stretch with a 3-pointer from the left wing at 16:09 to claim the early advantage.

The Hawks came back with six unanswered points, on their way to putting together a 9-5 run, that cut UNH's lead down to just one and set the score at 15-14 with 12:30 remaining in the first frame.

Kelley Flynn (Hopkinton, N.H.) helped stop the bleeding, notching one of two free throws from the charity stripe and then banking in a layup from the right block on the ensuing possession to give New Hampshire an 18-14 edge with 11:10 remaining.

However, the scoreless streak was short lived, as the Hawks came back with 10 unanswered, as Baker provided four points on two jumpers along the way to reclaim the lead with a 24-18 edge with 4:06 remaining in the stanza.

After going scoreless for nearly seven minutes, Beliveau would end the scoring rut for UNH with a 3-pointer from the left wing at 2:50, as the two teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way, with St. Joe's holding a 33-26 edge at the half.

The Wildcats started the second frame strong, posting a 7-4 run to set the score at 37-33 with 17:16 remaining in the game. McDonald led the 'Cats with six points during the run, scoring on three straight possessions. She kicked off the stretch sinking a pair of free throws and netting the first field goal of the half after receiving a pass in the lane and draining a leaner with contact at 18:26. On the ensuing possession she was at it again, putting the ball on the floor and making a power dribble move on the right block and banking in a layup with two defenders draped all over her.

Denise Beliveau
The Hawks halted UNH's run with a pair of threes by Katie Kuester and Erin Shields, extending their lead to 10, with the score 43-33 at 15:03.

McDonald would jumpstart the 'Cats once again as she received a pass in the lane and faked left and curled toward the basket and popped in a leaner at 14:36, setting off a 14-5 run that tied score at 47-47. Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) delivered the equalizer, draining a trifecta from the top of the key on a feed from McDonald with 9:39 to play.

St. Joe's would fire back with a 14-6 run capped off with a Kuester 3-pointer that pushed the home team's lead to eight, setting the score at 61-53 with 4:56 remaining.

However, New Hampshire would turn on the jets in the closing moments of the contest, as Beliveau notched a pair of free throws that set off a 13-6 run by the visitors to close out the action.

Kuester led the Hawks with 14 points and three boards. Samir Van Grinsven added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
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