Second-half rally comes just short for Seahawks; Golden Bears win, 61-56

Tara Burke scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from the free throw line to go with four boards. (Photo by Rob McGuinness)
Tara Burke scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from the free throw line to go with four boards. (Photo by Rob McGuinness)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (December 2, 2017) – The Western New England University women's basketball team built a 14-point first quarter lead and held off a late charge by Salve Regina University to earn a 61-56 victory on Saturday afternoon in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action at the Alumni Healthful Living Center.

Top Performers

  • Freshman forward Emily Scurka (Billerica, Mass.) shot 5-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from the free throw line on her way to a season-high 12 points for the Golden Bears.
  • Senior guard Dorothy O'Neill (Staten Island, N.Y.) added ten points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals, while sophomore forward Meghan Orbann (East Hampton, Conn.) finished with six points, a team-high nine rebounds and one assist.
  • Salve Regina was led by junior forward Tara Burke (Londonderry, N.H.), who scored a game-high 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-of-7 from the free throw line to go with four boards.
  • Senior forward Ally Esielionis (Shirley, Mass.) recorded 11 points and five rebounds, while sophomore guard Torie Scorpio (Cranston, R.I.) chipped in with ten points, four boards, three assists and two steals.

Game Review

  • Western New England shot 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the field in the first quarter and established a 22-8 lead through ten minutes of play. O'Neill, sophomore guard Hannah Zirkel (Westbury, N.Y.) and Orbann led the way, as the trio shot a combined 6-for-6 with O'Neill and Zirkel both connecting on a pair of three-pointers.
  • The Golden Bears, who had their lead cut to ten (24-14) when Salve Regina junior guard Mikayla Roderick (New Bedford, Mass.) made 1-of-2 free throws with 4:09 left in the half, responded with a 10-2 run to open up an 18-point advantage (34-16) at the 1:39 mark. Salve Regina trailed 34-18 at the break after Esielionis knocked down a jumper at the buzzer.
  • The Seahawks pulled back to within ten (38-28) with a 10-4 run to open the second half, as Burke completed a three-point play with 5:46 left in the third quarter. Western New England was able to stretch its lead back to 14 (47-33) by the end of the period with the help of Scurka, who scored eight points in the third.
  • Salve Regina, which faced a 16-point deficit (51-35) following a Scurka made jumper 1:13 into the fourth, put together an 11-0 run over the next 3:15 to pull back to within six. Burke scored four points during the run, while Scorpio capped it with a trey at the 5:32 mark.
  • The visitors eventually closed the gap to three (54-51) on an Esielionis layup with just under a minute remaining, before pulling to within two (58-56) when the senior hit a three-pointer with 20 seconds on the clock. They would get no closer, however, as O'Neill made it a four-point game (60-56) with a pair of late free throws and sophomore Courtney Carlson (Woodbury, Conn.) made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 12 seconds left to extend the final margin to five.

Notes

  • Western New England shot 51.8 percent (14-of-27) from the field in the first half and 39.3 percent (22-of-56) for the game.
  • The Golden Bears held a 39-36 rebounding edge, led by Orbann (nine) and junior guard Meghan Gilhool (Montrose, Pa.), who grabbed seven boards to go with seven points, three steals and two assists.
  • Sophomore guard Emily Farrell (New Fairfield, Conn.) contributed six points, a team-high five assists, four rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.

Up Next
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday, as Western New England (3-2, 1-1 CCC) travels to Quincy, Mass. to take on Eastern Nazarene College, while Salve Regina (2-3, 1-1 CCC) heads to Boston to face Wentworth.