The Mitchell College women’s basketball team avenged its only conference loss of the season by defeating Elms College, 57-50, Saturday afternoon at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Mariners (8-7 overall, 8-1 NECC) scored the final seven points of the game to break a 50-50 stalemate, securing their sixth straight win in the process. Freshman Jessica Shepherd (West Hartford, Conn./Conard) hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 38 seconds to play to put Mitchell on top for good.
Freshman Caycee Williams (Torrington, Conn./Torrington) paced a balanced Mitchell attack with 16 points and 11 rebounds to record her team-leading sixth double-double of the season. She also added two assists, two blocks and two steals in the win.
Elms’ Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass./BMC Durfee) led all scorers with 17 points but was plagued by foul trouble. JC Pickett (Chicopee, Mass./Chicopee Comprehensive) added 11 points and 12 rebounds while Marissa Merrill (Meredith, N.H./Holderness) also finished in double figures with 10 points.
Elms led 12-7 after the opening six minutes before Mitchell took control behind a 18-0 run. Williams scored four hoops for nine points during the stretch while sophomore Diamond Thomas (Hartford, Conn./Capital Preparatory Magnet) added six points. Elms went over eight minutes without scoring and trailed 25-12 after Thomas capped the run with a jumper at the 6:28 mark.
Parks ended the drought for the Blazers with 5:42 to go in the half, but Mitchell still took a 33-20 lead into the locker room at the break. Williams had 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the first half while Parks netted 10 on 5-for-10 shooting.
The Blazers opened the second half with a run of their own, scoring 12 straight points to pull within one at 33-32 following a Pickett lay-up with 15:09 to go. Pickett made a pair of buckets during the span while Gianna Youngblook (East Freetown, Mass./Apponequet Regional) and Merrill each contributed three-pointers.
Mitchell never lost the lead thanks to Williams, who scored the team’s first basket of the half at the 14:53 mark and followed it with a three-pointer just over a minute later. The Mariners built the lead back to eight before the Blazers pushed back again, whittling the deficit down to two on a pair of free throws by Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn./East Hartford). Mitchell answered back once again, with Thomas burying a jumper followed by a three by sophomore Toshina Jessamy (Hartford, Conn./Sport & Medical Sciences Academy) to bring the lead back to seven.
Parks, playing with four fouls, was big down the stretch, scoring seven straight points for the Blazers in their final push. She made one of two free throws with 2:01 to go to make it a two-point game, and Merrill later tied it up on a pair of freebies with 67 seconds to play.
On the ensuing possession, Mitchell brought the ball to the front court before taking a timeout. The Mariners then passed the ball around the perimeter while the shot clock ticked down, and Williams found Shepherd at the top of the key for a deep three. The ball swished through the hoop as the shot clock expired to put the Mariners on top 53-50.
Burr attempted a game-tying three on the other end but was off the mark, and the Blazers were forced to foul. Senior Kate Mulloy (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) went to the line four times in the final 23 seconds and made all four attempts to seal the victory.
Jessamy finished with nine points and nine rebounds in addition to playing tough defense. Thomas chipped in with eight points before fouling out and Shepherd and sophomore Savannah Boyle (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) each contributed seven.
Mitchell returns to the court on Tuesday, January 21 to host Newbury College at 4 p.m. Elms (7-8 overall, 6-2 NECC) will next host Becker College on Tuesday at 6 p.m.