WSU falls in MASCAC championship

Freshman guard Keri Doldoorian makes one of her two 3-point baskets. The Owls shot an incredible 77 percent (17 for 22) in the first half, including 5 for 5 from 3-point range. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

BRIDGEWATER – Behind MVP Jenna Williamson’s (Ludlow, Mass.) career-high 34 points, the Bridgewater State University women’s basketball team erased a 14-point second-half deficit as the top-seeded Bears downed No. 3 seed Westfield State University, 85-72, to capture their third straight Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Tournament and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third consecutive season.
Williamson poured in 25 of her 34 points during the second-half comeback, as she was just one point shy of Catie Furtado’s program mark of 35 set against Pine Manor College in 2006. Williamson finished 8-for-12 from the floor and connected on 5 of 8 three-point field goal attempts. She was 13-for-15 at the free throw line, converting 9 of 10 foul shots in the final 73 seconds to secure the win.
The Bears (23-3) will be making the program’s eighth overall NCAA Division III Tournament appearance and fourth in the
Westfield’s Gabby Felix literally ties up Bridgewater’s Alana Watkins for a jump ball early in the first half. Felix scored a team-high 19 points, shooting 9 for 12 from the field. Photo by Mickey Curtis
past six years. Bridgewater’s 23 wins is the second most in program history. The 1984-85 team finished 26-2. The NCAA Division III Tournament selection show will be webcast live on on Monday afternoon at 2:30. Westfield slips to 18-10 and will await word on a possible ECAC Tournament bid.
Senior guard Michaela Cosby (Walpole, Mass.) added 20 points, five boards, six assists and five steals for the Bears, while junior guard Colleen Hanscom (Melrose, Mass.) played a terrific all-around game finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds (three offensive), two assists and five steals. Junior forward Megan Boutilette (Charlton, Mass.) chipped in with seven points and nine boards, including seven on the offensive glass.
Down 59-45 with 12:18 remaining in the second half, the Bears went on a 15-0 run capped off by back-to-back-to-back trifectas by Williamson, senior guard Elisha Homich (Ludlow, Mass.) and Williamson again which gave the hosts their first lead (60-59) since the 13:24 mark of the first half.

Westfield’s Gabby Felix literally ties up Bridgewater’s Alana Watkins for a jump ball early in the first half. Felix scored a team-high 19 points, shooting 9 for 12 from the field. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

A jumper by freshman guard Keri Doldoorian (Whitinsville, Mass.) reclaimed the lead for the Owls, but that was quickly answered by a Cosby jumper which put the Bears back on top, 62-61.
Following a turnover, Williamson was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer and promptly buried all three foul shots. After senior guard Jenny Bell (Northampton, Mass.) converted one of two at the line for the Owls, Williamson drained another three to give the Bears a 68-62 advantage as the clock ticked under five minutes.
Westfield closed to within five points on a Briana Kelly (Hampden, Mass.) 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining, but the Bears, led by Williamson, converted 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the final minute and 13 seconds to pull out the comeback win.
Spurred by a full court trapping defense, the Bears outscored the Owls, 40-13, over the final 12 minutes of the game. Bridgewater forced 33 Westfield turnovers in the game, thanks in large part to 21 steals led by six thefts from Homich. The Bears scored 43 of their 85 points off the Owls’ 33 miscues.
Sophomore center Gabby Felix (Springfield, Mass.) paced the Owls with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Doldoorian finished with 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting. Sophomore guard Jen Ashton (Beverly, Mass.) chipped in with 11 points, eight assists and four steals.
Westfield came out firing and shot lights out in the first half. The Owls connected on an incredible 77.3% of their field goal attempts (17-22) over the first 20 minutes including a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range. Westfield trailed just once in the opening stanza, 15-13. A jumper by Doldoorian followed by an Ashton trifecta reclaimed the lead for the Owls and they never trailed again in the first half.
The Bears had three glorious chances to tie the game over the final nine minutes of the first half. Cosby missed the second of a two-shot foul at the 8:41 mark which would have knotted the game at 21-21. Less than a minute later Hanscom converted a layup and got fouled but missed the free throw which would have tied it at 24-24.
After the Owls pushed their advantage to seven later in the stanza, the Bears battled back and had a chance to tie the game at 38-38 with a minute and a half left, but Hanscom couldn’t convert a driving layup. Junior forward Tania Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass.) and Kelly closed out the first half scoring for the Owls with a pair of layups as Westfield took a 42-36 lead into the break.
Westfield’s shooting cooled off in the second half (42.9%) and the Owls finished the game shooting 58 percent from the field, including 66 percent (8-12) of their 3-point attempts.
Bridgewater shot 42.4% (25-59) for the game and went 8-for-16 from behind arc. The Bears also went 19-for-21 (90.5%) at the free throw line in the final stanza after converting just 8 of 13 shots at the charity stripe in the first half. Westfield would make just 11 trips (6-for-11) to the line over the entire game.

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