Bridgewater rallies to defeat Westfield, 49-46

Westfield’s Jen Ashton drives in the lane to score on a floater during first-half action. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

WESTFIELD – Junior guard Jenna Willamson (Ludlow) scored a game-high 16 points to lead Bridgewater State University to a 49-46 comeback victory over Westfield State University in a MASCAC Saturday Showdown on Saturday.
The Bears, who overcame a 14-point deficit early in the second half, retain sole possession of first place with an 8-1 MASCAC mark; they are 17-3 overall. Westfield is 6-3 and 14-8.
After shooting a dismal l8 percent (5 for 28) in the first half, the athletic Bears began their second-half comeback with a suffocating defense and slick passing and relentless rebounding on the offensive end.
Bridgewater executed two key scoring surges in the second half.
Trailing 31-17 with 19:10 remaining, the Bears went on a 15-2 run to pull within a point, 33-32, on a 3-point basket by Colleen Hanscom (Melrose) with 14:25 remaining.
The Owls regained control and built a 40-34 on freshman guard Keri Doldoorian’s (Whitinsville/Sutton HS) running jumper with 8:36 remaining.
But the Bears went on a 10-0 run to take a 44-40 lead with 4:34 remaining. Williamson began the scoring spurt with a 3-point basket and capped the run by canning two free throws.
Westfield tied the score at 44-44 with 2:02 remaining on two free throws by Jen Ashton (Beverly) and a steal-layup by Jenny Bell (Northampton).
Bridgewater senior and leading scorer Elisa Homich (Ludlow), who struggled from the field the entire game (2 for 13), scored the game-winning points when she made a traditional 3-point play for a 47-44 Bears lead with 1:40 remaining.
Westfield sophomore center Gabby Felix (Springfield/Commerce) scored on a putback for a 47-46 score with 36 seconds remaining.
With the shot clock winding down, Hanscom nailed a clutch jumper from the left baseline for a 49-46 lead with nine seconds remaining. Westfield had no timeouts and Ashton dribbled the ball the length of the court and missed a shot under the basket as time expired.
While Westfield struggled to solve the Bridgewater fullcourt pressure in the second half, the Owls moved the ball well and scored on several press breaker layups to take an early 11-4 lead.
The Bears pulled with two points, 14-12, with 11:37 remaining, but the visitors were outscored 13-3 over the final 10 minutes as the Owls led at halftime, 27-15. Westfield scored 11 straight points for a 25-12 advantage before Williamson ended the scoring run with a 3-point basket.
Bridgewater regrouped in the second half to shoot 46 percent form the field (12 for 26). Westfield shot 36 percent in the first half and 33 percent the second half, but the Owls committed 16 second-half turnovers to finish with 27. Bridgewater also struggled taking care of the ball with 24 turnovers.
Also scoring in double figures for the Bears was Michaela Cosby (Walpole) with 11 points, including nine in the second half. The scrappy 5-5 senior guard also had a team-high eight rebounds.
In a a key statistic, the Bears were 6 for 20 from 3-point range; Westfield 2 for 8. Williamson was 4 for 7 from beyond the arc.
Ahston and Felix tied for team-high honors with 11 points apiece. Westfield outrebounded Bridgewater, 38-34, with junior reserve forward Tania Ortiz hauling down a game-high nine boards.

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