December 21, 2011

Beliveau’s Late Jumper Lifts Women’s Basketball Past Wagner, 73-72, In Overtime Thriller; Frame Nets 35 points

 STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Down by one with three seconds left in overtime, senior Denise Beliveau (Framingham, Mass.) scooped up the team's second offensive board of the possession and knocked down a short jumper to lift the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team past Wagner College, 73-72, Wednesday evening at the Spiro Sports Center.  

Beliveau's late-game heroics were set up by the play of junior Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.), who drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 13 seconds left in regulation to ultimately send the game into extra time.

Once in overtime, Reed scored her team's first eight points of the frame, hitting a pair of treys to kick off the period and then a putback layup to put the Wildcats on top, 67-63. The teams then swapped baskets before Wagner reeled off five straight for the 70-69 advantage with 49 seconds to play.

UNH raced down the court and junior Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) drilled a jumper to give the Wildcats the one-point lead, but the Seahawks answered on their next possession as Kanifa Hicks scored a late layup to give Wagner the 72-71 lead with 22 seconds remaining. On the final possession, UNH missed back-to-back 3-point attempts, but managed to grab both offensive boards. Beliveau picked up the second rebound in the paint and knocked down the timely jumper in the waning seconds to seal the victory.

The Wildcats won their third straight to improve to 6-4 on the season, while the Seahawks dip to 2-9 overall.

While Beliveau and Reed provided the late theatrics, Frame paced the Wildcats with a career-high 35 points, one point shy of the school record, and 12 rebounds for her second double-double in as many games. She shot 15-of-29 from the floor and added five free throws and three steals.

Reed finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, while sophomore Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) netted 13 points and four assists. As a team, the Wildcats shot 40.6 percent from the floor, including 54.5 percent in overtime.

Both teams clamped down defensively to open the contest, until Wagner pulled ahead on a 3-pointer by Veronick Fournier for the 5-2 lead with just under 15 minutes to play in the first half.

The Wildcats kept pace with the home side over the next 4:46, as Frame scored three straight baskets to pull her team within 9-8 at the 11:16 mark. The Seahawks answered with a quick 8-1 run, fueled by consecutive treys by Stephanie Blais, for the 17-9 advantage midway through the stanza.

Hogan silenced the stretch with a shot from beyond the arc, which also kicked off a 7-1 Wildcat run over the next two minutes to pull the visitors within two at 18-16. The Seahawks answered with five straight, but the Wildcats stormed right back, this time with a 9-3 run. Reed and Frame headlined the stretch, each connecting for a pair of shots underneath the basket to trim the Wagner lead to 26-25 with 2:47 left in the half.

Wagner ended the stanza with a 7-1 run to take a 33-27 lead into the locker rooms at halftime. Frame led all players with 13 points in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, while Hogan chipped in with eight points.  

The teams swapped baskets in the opening 5:27 of the second half, as Brittney Thorpe and Frame continued to find open looks down low, but a 9-3 Seahawk run opened the lead to 50-39 with 9:13 left to play.

New Hampshire responded with more of Frame underneath the hoop as the junior netted the team's next eight points, pulling UNH within seven at 54-47 with 6:28 remaining. Following a Wagner bucket, the Wildcats reeled off four straight points as senior Abigail LaRosa (Hampton, N.H.) picked off a pass in the backcourt, drew the foul and hit both free throws to trim the lead to 56-51 with 4:10 remaining.

During the remainder of regulation, UNH slowly chipped away at the score by taking the game to the charity stripe, until Hogan nailed a pair of free throws to trim the lead to three with 45 seconds remaining, paving the way for Reed's late 3-pointer.

The Wildcats round out the year on Dec. 29-30 when they take part in the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge in Ames, Iowa. UNH will first battle the host Cyclones on Dec. 29 at 8:30 p.m. (CST).

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