DURHAM, N.H. – Cari Reed (Oswego, N.Y.) scored a game-high 17 points, including two free throws with nine seconds remaining to account for the final scoring, in the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team's 59-56 non-conference victory against Cornell University at Lundholm Gym on Sunday afternoon.
UNH won its home opener – the Wildcats have won 11 of their last 13 home openers – to improve to 4-0 lifetime against Cornell and 3-1 overall this season. Cornell is now 3-3.
Reed made 5 of 8 field goal attempts, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and made all four foul shots to account for her 17 points. She also tallied five rebounds and a steal in 38 minutes to garner America East Player of the Game recognition.
Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) recorded her first career double-double with 11 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, both of which are personal bests. Morgan Frame (Waterville, Maine) finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Cornell was led by Taylor Flynn (15 pts, four rebs), Clare Fitzpatrick (10 pts) and Allyson DiMagno (15 rebs).
The Wildcats matched their largest lead of the game – and season – when Reed hit a 3-pointer at 14:21 of the second half for a 39-29 advantage. Cornell chipped away at the deficit and pulled within 41-36 on Fitzpatrick's layup, but Kaylee Kilpatrick (Saint John, New Brunswick; six pts, two rebs, two blocks) responded with a layup at the other end of the court at 10:22.
Fitzpatrick hit a pair of foul shots at 9:40 to ignite a 9-0 run capped by Flynn's 3-pointer at 7:45 that gave Cornell a 45-43 lead; it marked the Big Red's first lead since 9-8 at 16:06 of the first half.
Frame made 1 of 2 from the foul line at 7:03 and, after a steal and drive to the basket, Reed made two free throws to put UNH back in front, 46-45, at 6:28. There were two lead changes and one tie in the next five minutes as UNH held a 55-54 lead with one minute remaining.
Spencer Lane (nine pts, five rebs) made a jumper with 42 seconds remaining to give Cornell a 56-55 lead. Following a New Hampshire time out, Lauren Wells (West Chester, Pa.) drove down the left side of the lane and made a layup to make the score 57-56 in favor of the 'Cats with 27 seconds to play.
The Big Red, which made just 7 of 16 second-half free throws, called a 30-second timeout and Taylor's missed jumper was pulled in by Ariel Gaston (Toledo, Ohio). Gaston missed the front end of the 1-and-1, but Belanger corralled the ball and then had it knocked out of bounds with 10 seconds on the clock. Reed was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and made both free throws to extend the advantage to 59-56 with nine seconds remaining.
Cornell advanced the ball along the right sideline and DiMagno's contested 3-pointer from the top-right side of the arc fell into the arms of Gaston at the buzzer.
In the first half, the visitors inched out to a 9-4 lead in the opening three minutes of the game. UNH responded with a 7-0 spurt capped by a Belanger 3-pointer that gave the 'Cats their first lead of the game, 11-9 at 15:20.
DiMagno leveled the score with two free throws, but Reed's layup on the next UNH possession ignited an 11-1 run that also included layups by Belanger and Frame and ended with Wells' 3-pointer at 7:20 that pushed the score to 22-12.
Cornell closed the half on a 12-7 run to pull within 29-24 at halftime. The Wildcats offset 10 first-half turnovers by shooting 40.7% (11-for-27) from the floor.
Reed opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer and Belanger followed with a layup to reestablish a double-digit lead of 34-24. The teams exchanged baskets, the last of which was Reed's aforementioned 3-pointer at 14:21 that made it 39-29.
UNH recorded a 40-39 edge on the boards to mark the fourth time in as many games the Wildcats finished with more rebounds than the opposition.
New Hampshire returns to action Nov. 28 (7 p.m.) at Harvard University. The game will be broadcast on the Wildcat Sports Radio Network beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Wildcats' next home game is Dec. 5 (5:30 p.m.) against intrastate rival Dartmouth College as part of a women's & men's doubleheader.