WESTFIELD – Westfield State senior guard Jill Valley (Mahar HS/Orange, Mass.) celebrated her senior day in style, springing for a school record 52 points in leading the Owls to a 102-82 win over Worcester State in the final regular-season game of the 2016-17 season at the Woodward Center on Saturday afternoon.
Valley shot 19-27 from the floor, 2-5 from three-point range, and 12-14 from the line. She grabbed eight steals, six rebounds and handed out three assists.
The 52 points is an NCAA Division III women’s basketball season high, as well as a MASCAC record. It breaks a 42-year old school record, set by Dorothy Rickus against Jackson College in 1975.
“I had been in a little bit of a slump, but for the first time in four games I was making shots,” said Valley. “That was so much fun. I made up today for some of the shots I had been missing lately.”
“I have nothing to say,” said a stunned and normally verbose Westfield State head coach Andrea Bertini. “Outside of the miracle of childbirth that’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen.”
Westfield led 50-37 at the half, but Worcester ground the Owls lead down to 72-64 entering the fourth quarter, and the Lancers chipped the lead down to as few as five points on two occasions, the last at 79-74 on a Britt Herring (Quabog/W. Brookfield, Mass.) layup with 6:30 to play.
“I wasn’t comfortable with the score,” said Valley. “The were going in, so I just kept shooting. I never looked at the board to see how many points I had.”

Jill Valley scored a school record and NCAA Season high 52 points. (Photo courtesy of Westfield State University Sports)

Jill Valley scored a school record and NCAA Season high 52 points. (Photo courtesy of Westfield State University Sports)

Valley exploded in the fourth quarter, connecting on all eight of her shots from the floor and 3-3 at the foul line is scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter alone.
The Owls closed the game with a 23-8 scoring run.
“I switched to a 2-3 zone, which we’ve barely practiced, and I think the best response I got from the team was a quizzical look,” said Bertini. “But I wanted to stretch out the game, and on offense we just got out of Jill’s way.”
“She had 17 at the half and was getting to the foul line, and while Worcester was bigger, but they had trouble staying in front of her, so I knew she would have a big game, and I was smart enough to keep her on the floor” said Bertini.
Valley, who averages 21 minutes a game, played nearly the final six minutes when she normally rotates in an out about every minute.
“I know I said in an interview the other day that I never get tired playing,” said Valley. “I’m not gonna lie. I’m a little tired right now, but it’s a good tired.”
Valley scored more than half the Owls’ points. She was joined in double-figures by Rebecca Sapouckey (Granby/Chicopee, Mass.) with 10 points and six rebounds, and Kierra McCarthy (Ludllow, Mass.) added 10 points and five rebounds with four steals.
Worcester was led by 21 points and 10 rebounds from Kaitlyn Berkel (St. Bernard’s /Waterford, Conn.), and got 19 from Herring and 11 from TaNajia Smith (Cheyney/S.Windsor, Conn.). Worcester State is now 12-13 overall and 8-4 in the MASCAC. Worcester brought a five-game winning streak into the game; the last time the Lancers lost was a 96-91 decision to the Owls in Worcester on Jan. 25.
Westfield clinched the 2016 MASCAC regular season championship. The Owls have won three straight and earned at least a share of the MASCAC title in each of the last four seasons, and will be the top seed in the upcoming MASCAC tournament with a 17-8 overall record and a 11-1 mark in the league.
Westfield State honored its five graduate seniors before the game; Susan Bell (Northampton/Florence, Mass.), Alyssa Darling (Palmer, Mass.) Ashley Giampetruzzi (Manchester Central/Manchester, N.H.), Kirsy Segarra (Holyoke, Mass.) and Jill Valley (Mahar, Orange, Mass.).
The standout group includes Valley, the now the fourth-all-time leading scorer in Owls history with 1,391 points and the programs most accurate free-throw shooter ever with a career percentage of better than 84 percent. She moved up two spots on the scoring list with today’s performance. Segarra has amassed more than 700 points and ranks in the programs top-10 in three-pointers made and top-30 in scoring; Giampetruzzi, who transferred from Daniel Webster, scored 846 points and grabbed 529 rebounds between the two schools; Darling was a standout point guard who scored 459 points and dished out 180 assists before being hampered by knee injuries over the past two seasons, and Bell has been an accurate spot up shooter off the bench for the Owls.
The Owls senior class has posted a record of 42-6 over four seasons in the MASCAC.
With the result Westfield State will be the top seed in the upcoming MASCAC tournament. The Owls will face host the winner of Tuesday’s #4 Bridgewater vs. #5 Salem State first round game in the conference semifinals at the Woodward Center on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. – Courtesy of Westfield State University Sports

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