Courtesy Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. – Second-seeded Colby College recorded a 75-64 victory over No. 5 Bowdoin College on Saturday in the semifinals of the 2010 NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship. The Mules held a 10 point lead at halftime and never trailed in the second half as they beat the Polar Bears for the second time in a row this season, earning back-to-back wins over their Maine rivals for the first time since the 1992-93 campaign.
Neither team was able to open up
more than a four point lead in the early going, and at the midpoint
of the first half, Colby held on to just an 18-15 lead. After
forcing a shot clock violation from the Mules, Bowdoin closed the
gap to one point on a nice weak side rebound and reverse lay-up
put-back from Amy Hackett (Bangor, Maine). Colby’s Aarika
Ritchie (Lee, Maine) responded with a three from the top of the key
to put the Mules up 21-17.
Colby’s lead briefly grew to seven points on a deep Allison Cappelloni (Sudbury, Mass.) three ball, but Bowdoin responded with a bucket from Sabrina Cote (Dexter, Mass.) off an assist by Katie Bergeron (Bradley, Maine). With 4:13 to play in the first half, Colby’s Diana Manduca (Portland, Maine) made a three from the right corner and took a hard foul. The Mule rookie stood up, went to the line, and knocked down the free throw to complete a four-point play and extend the Colby lead to 34-25.
During the last four minutes of the half, it looked as though Colby’s lead would remain at a dozen points, but Hacket nailed a short jumper at the halftime buzzer to close the gap to 42-32. At the break, Hackett led all players with 12 points for Bowdoin, while Julianne Kowalski (Montville, N.J.) paced the Mules with 10 points.
Colby started the second half with a 14-6 scoring run 7:17 of game play, taking a commanding 56-38 lead. After a timeout, Bowdoin forced back-to-back turnovers in the Colby backcourt, and went on a 6-2 scoring run to close the gap to 14 points. With 9:11 remaining, Caitlin Hynes (Owl’s Head, Maine) took a steal at half court the distance for a layup to close the margin to 58-46. Bowdoin got a pair of blocks on Colby’s next possession, before a score inside by Leah Rubega (Norwich, Conn.) brought the Polar Bears within 10 points.
On either side of the six-minute mark, Manduca and Rachael Mack (Augusta, Maine) each made a pair of free throws as Colby started to open back up a comfortable lead. Despite another score by Hynes for Bowdoin, Colby’s lead sat at 68-53 with 3:57 to play.
Bowdoin tried to rally for a comeback, but ultimately ran out of time as the game ended with a 75-64 win for the Mules. Manduca finished the night with 18 points to lead Colby, while Ritchie and Mack added 15 points apiece. Kowalski had the game’s lone double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Bowdoin was led by 18 points from Hackett, while Hynes chipped in with 14 points in the loss.
The win improved Colby’s record to 23-3 as the Mules earned a spot in the NESCAC Championship title game for the first time in program history. Bowdoin drops to 20-6, as the Polar Bears will wait to hear if they will receive an at-large bid when the NCAA Tournament field is announce on Monday.