NEW LONDON, Conn. – Third-seeded Mitchell College led from start to finish in a 69-40 victory over sixth-seeded Bay Path College in the first round of the New England Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Championship on Tuesday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Mitchell (16-9 overall) advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2011 and will face second-seeded Elms College on Friday, February 28 at 8 p.m. The semifinals and finals will be hosted by top-seeded Regis College.
Sophomore Diamond Thomas paced the Mariners with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and added seven rebounds and five assists. Senior Kate Mulloy and freshman Jessica Shepherd each pitched in with 12 points while freshman Caycee Williams contributed eight points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Bay Path senior Kayla Skiffington led all scorers with 18 points and tallied a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Junior Katherine Chabot and freshman Briana Kujawski chipped in with nine and eight points, respectively.
Mitchell grabbed a quick lead behind buckets from Shepherd and freshman Samantha Ryan in the opening minute and never trailed in the contest. Chabot came out of the gate hot and did her best to keep the Wildcats in the game, scoring Bay Path's first nine points over the first five minutes. Her three-point play with 15:08 to go pulled the Wildcats to within one at 8-7.
The score remained close until a 12-0 run put the Mariners up 27-13 with 4:46 remaining in the first half. Thomas scored half of Mitchell's points during the stretch while Williams added four. A pair of free throws by Skiffington finally put points on the board for the Wildcats, but the Mariners answered with the final 11 points of the half to take a commanding 28-15 lead into the break.
Thomas led all scorers with 10 points at intermission while Williams had eight as Mitchell shot 41 percent from the floor. Chabot's nine points led Bay Path, which shot just 19 percent in the stanza.
Mitchell didn't let up in the second half, outscoring Bay Path 31-25 en route to the 29-point win. Skiffington netted 16 points in the stanza to lead the Wildcats and finished the game 10-for-12 at the free throw line.
Mitchell held a 47-29 edge on the glass and shot 42 percent for the game. Bay Path (8-18 overall) shot 22 percent but turned the ball over 23 times.
Mulloy had seven rebounds and five assists to go along with her 12 points. Sophomore Toshina Jessamy came off the bench to add eight points and three assists.