DURHAM, N.H. – Junior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) led four Wildcats in double-figures, registering 17 points and seven rebounds, propelling the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to a 63-59 overtime victory against the University of Vermont Monday evening at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats, who notch their second straight win, improve to 5-13 overall and 2-4 in America East play. Meanwhile, Vermont drops to 1-17 overall and 1-4 in conference action with the loss.
Lauren Buschmann was named the America East Player of the Game for Vermont, tallying a team-best 14 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
Rounding out UNH's double-digit scorers were Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.; 12), Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.; 11), and Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.; 11). Reed finished with career highs in rebounds (12) and blocks (2), while also adding two assists. It is just the second time this season four 'Cats have scored in double-figures in a game.
A late second half scoring surge by New Hampshire knotted the game at 48-48, as Hogan iced an 11-2 Wildcat run that lasted over five minutes with a step-back 15-foot jumper from the left side with 1:45 remaining.
Following Hogan's jumper, the Catamounts posted four unanswered points as Buschmann banked in a layup and Kristine Lalonde knocked down a pair of free throws about a minute later, giving UVM the 52-48 edge with just 19 seconds remaining.
The next trip up the floor Wells pushed the ball across half court and pulled up from the right wing with no hesitation and drilled a 3-pointer that cut the deficit down to one with 14 seconds to play. With a quick foul, UNH sent Lauren Wheeler to the line for a pair of free throws, but she was only able to knock down the first of two attempts, giving the visitors just a two-point cushion.
Jill McDonald (Middlebury, Vt.) tracked down the rebound following the missed free throw and sent the ball up the floor to Beliveau who drove right side and launched a jumper from about 10 feet away with two defenders draped all over her and banked it in with three seconds remaining to send the game into overtime with the score, 53-53, at the end of regulation.
The Wildcats tipped off overtime with a 6-3 run, as Reed delivered a trifecta from the top of the key on a feed from McDonald, giving the home team a 59-56 advantage with 3:18 remaining. UVM struck back with a Wheeler free throw and a Tonya Young layup on back-to-back possessions, knotting the score at 59-59 with 1:46 remaining.
On the ensuing possession Hogan took the ball hard to the rack, drawing contact and getting to the foul line where she drained a pair of free throws to reclaim the lead. On the possession that followed New Hampshire locked down on defense, forcing Vermont to miss two shots and turn the ball over with nine seconds to play. UVM fouled quickly, sending Wells to the foul line where she secured the win, knocking down a pair of free throws that pushed UNH's lead to four with six seconds remaining.
The first frame was a see-saw battle, with no team holding more than a four-point edge, until the Wildcats caught fire with a 9-0 run, dropping in a trio of 3-pointers over a span of 2:07. Beliveau hit the first and last 3-pointer on the stretch, while Hogan supplied the trifecta in between, giving UNH its largest lead of the contest with a 26-20 advantage with 2:36 remaining.
However, a pair of jumpers by Lalonde and Wheeler cut the lead down to two points, with New Hampshire holding a 26-24 edge at halftime.
The first 11 minutes of the second stanza featured a back-and-forth battle between both squads, until the Catamounts pieced together a 12-3 run that lasted 4:18, giving the visitors their largest lead of the contest with the score, 46-37, with just over seven minutes to play in regulation.
The Wildcats return to action on Sunday, Jan. 23 (2 p.m.) when they face off against the University of Maryland Baltimore County at the RAC Arena.