LOWELL, Mass. – Elizabeth Belanger (Acton, Mass.) notched her first career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Kristen Anderson (Greene, Maine) scored a game-high 23 points to propel the University of New Hampshire women's basketball team to Sunday afternoon's 75-68 America East conference victory against the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
UNH upped its record to 11-8 on the season and 5-1 in America East; UML dropped to 2-17, 1-7 AE. The Wildcats have won seven of their last eight decisions.
New Hampshire was a season-high 25 of 28 from the charity stripe, including 16 consecutive free throws in the second half.
UNH shot 23 of 58 (39.7 percent) from the field and was 4 of 17 from beyond the arc (23.5 percent). UMass Lowell was 25 of 67 (37.3 percent) from the floor and 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) from 3-point range.
Corinne Coia (North Smithfield, R.I.) and Kelsey Hogan (Nashua, N.H.) reached double figures in scoring with 12 points apiece. Coia also earned her fourth double-double of the season, grabbing 12 boards. It marks the second time this season New Hampshire has logged at least four scorers in double-digits.
The River Hawks were led by Shannon Samuels with 23 points. Lindsey Doucette pitched in 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Jasmine McRoy registered 16 points in the loss.
The Wildcats darted out to a 7-2 lead to start the match as Hogan hit a trey to open the scoring. UML pulled within a point on back-to-back layups.
Anderson sparked a 9-4 for the Wildcats, providing five of the points to give New Hampshire a 16-10 advantage.
The River Hawks were able to cut the lead down to a basket on contributions from Brittany Lommano and Samuels with 9:56 to go in the first half.
Clinging onto an 18-17 lead with 8:43 left in the opening frame, Anderson ignited the 'Cats offense. The freshman guard registered consecutive 3-pointers and a layup as part of a 15-3 run to give UNH a 33-20 advantage. Each side exchanged baskets as the Wildcats entered halftime with a 37-25 advantage.
Samuels and Doucette ignited the River Hawk rally to start the second half as part of a 10-2 run.
Clinging onto a 39-36 lead, New Hampshire's defense clamped down to keep UML scoreless for 6 minutes 10 seconds. On the other side of the ball, UNH strung together an 8-point run of its own to carry a 47-36 advantage.
UMass Lowell quickly erased the 11-point advantage with an 8-0 run as well to slash the Wildcats' lead down to three again at 47-44.
The River Hawks and Wildcats traded baskets, as UNH owned 59-51 lead with 4:36 to go in the second stanza.
UML mounted a rally again in the waning moments of the half. Doucette netted 5 of 11 points for the River Hawks as part of an 11-4 run to cut the UNH lead down to 63-62 with 1:41 remaining in the half.
After each side swapping baskets, Hogan found Belanger for the layup to put the Wildcats up 67-64 in the last minute of play.
On the next possession, the River Hawks failed to even the score on a McRoy trey, which resulted in UML having to foul. Anderson and Hogan combined for 6 of 6 from the free throw line to close out the game and earn the 75-68 win for New Hampshire.
The Wildcats conclude their three-game road trip at the University of Maine on Wednesday, Jan. 29 (7 p.m.). UNH returns home to host Binghamton University on Sunday, Feb. 2 (1 p.m.). For tickets, call (603) 862-4000, extension 5 or visit UNHWildcats.com.