NEW LONDON, Conn. – Third-seeded Becker College held off second-seeded Mitchell College down the stretch to post a 50-42 victory in the semifinals of the 2019 New England Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Championship on Thursday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Hawks (20-7 overall) will get a chance to defend their title on Saturday, February 21 at top-seeded New England College. Mitchell ends the season with a record of 17-10.
Sarah Ware paced Becker with 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in the victory. Adrianna Dowdy had 12 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double, and she also grabbed a game-high seven steals.
The Mariners led by as many as four early on, but the Hawks pulled even at 12-12 by the end of the first. Ware opened the second quarter with an offensive rebound and put back to give Becker the lead, and a minute later she splashed a three that ignited an 8-0 stretch that put the visitors in front for good.
Ware scored 12 points in the half as Becker led 26-20 at the break. Turner and Hernandez each had six points in the first stanza to keep the Mariners close.
Becker opened up an 11-point lead—its largest of the contest—by the 3:00 mark in the third. However, a three by Hernandez and a jumper by Turner cut the margin back to 35-29 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Mitchell continued to whittle down the deficit in the early stages of the fourth quarter, clawing to within two on a pair of Wiley free throws with 7:42 to go. Just over a minute later, Hernandez drilled another three to make it a one-point game.
The score remained locked at 37-36 for a three-minute stretch that saw Mitchell come up empty on five straight possessions for a chance to take the lead. Cassidy Harrison finally snapped the scoring drought with a jumper to give the Hawks a three-point cushion, and Ware followed with a pair from the charity stripe to extend the lead to five.
After Mitchell fought back to within three, a three-point play by Dowdy all but sealed the win for the Hawks with 1:22 to play. Becker then salted the game away with six points from the free throw line, all in the final 47 seconds.