DURHAM, N.H. – Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) notched her third double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to Tuesday night's 58-53 victory against Yale University at Lundholm Gymnasium.
The Wildcats' second straight victory pushed their record to 6-7 on the season, while the Bulldogs slipped to 6-8 overall.
UNH used a suffocating defense to take a commanding 33-18 halftime lead. The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to 5-of-31 shooting (16.1%), including 0-for-8 from 3-point land and no field goals over the final 7:26 of the opening half. The 'Cats countered by hitting 12 of 25 shots (48.0 %) from the floor and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Kaylee Kilpatrick (St. John, New Brunswick), who recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, scored eight of New Hampshire's first 11 points as the Wildcats jumped out to an 11-2 lead and never trailed. The 6-foot-4 forward also racked up a career-high five blocks in the win. Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) reached double digits in scoring to log 13 points, tallying a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
Sarah Halejian paced the Bulldogs with 17 points while chipping in seven rebounds. Janna Graf assisted the Yale offense with nine points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs faced a 14-point deficit at 52-38 with 6:17 remaining in the second half. Yale surged back into the match to tally 15 of the next 18 points, pulling within two points. However, Coia put the game out of reach for the Bulldogs, draining 3 of 4 shots in the waning moments.
New Hampshire bolted out to an 11-2 lead in the first five minutes of the match. The 'Cats were able to stretch out their lead to 15 at 28-13 with 6:31 left in the first half. Yale could not chip into the 15-point deficit as the Wildcats entered halftime to lead, 33-18.
Each side exchanged jumpers to begin the second half of play to raise the score to 35-20. New Hampshire was able to preserve its double-digit lead for a majority of the second half, powered by 17 points from Coia (10) and Hogan (7). UNH would build its largest lead at 16 with 8:57 left over in the second half, capped off by a pair of free throws from Hogan. The Wildcats continued to attack the paint, reaching the charity stripe to shoot 16 of 19 free throws in the second half. Coia would tack on a quartet of free throws to give the 'Cats a 52-38 lead with 6:17 remaining in the second frame.
Halejian would power the Bulldogs with 10 points in as part of a 12-3 run for Yale in a span of 3 minutes, 42 seconds to slash UNH's lead down to five. A trey from Graf cut the Wildcats' advantage down to two with 11 seconds left in the game. The Bulldogs were forced to foul Coia with 10 seconds left to send the sophomore to line. After missing the first free throw, Coia was able to drain the second attempt to give New Hampshire a 56-53 edge. Halejian was given the ball to shoot from beyond the arc with two seconds remaining. However, Coia caught the rebound and drew the foul, sending her to the charity stripe again. The 6-foot-4 forward went 2-for-2 from the line to thwart the Bulldogs rally and secure the 58-53 win for the 'Cats.
UNH returns to action for its America East opener against Stony Brook University at Lundholm Gymnasium on Saturday, Jan. 11 (1 p.m.). The game will be carried live on the Live Well Network (Comcast 288) and the Wildcat Sports Radio Network. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.