Worcester, Mass. – Powered by a defense that held visiting Mount Holyoke to 34 percent shooting in the second half and forced 18 turnovers in the game, Clark University won for the fifth time in six games, posting a hard-fought 63-55 win over the Lyons in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Tuesday evening.
The Cougars improve to 2-1 in league play, while Mount Holyoke slips to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in conference play.
With the game tied 42-42 with nine minutes left in the contest, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run capped by an Emily Reilly (Marlboro, Mass.) three-pointer with 4:40 left to get some breathing room.
The Lyons cut the lead down to four when Amber Legare (Chicopee, Mass.) connected on an inside hoop with 2:35 left, but a pair of free throws and an excellent baseline drive by Ashleigh Condon (Hull, Mass.) pushed the Clark advantage back to eight at 57-49.
That lead ballooned to its peak at 59-49 after Megan Grondin (Cumberland, Maine) made two from the charity stripe with 36 seconds left, but Mount Holyoke made one final blitz to close the gap. First, Angelica Pascual (Lawrence, Mass.) dropped in a three-pointer and after a missed front end of a 1-and-1, Pascual converted a traditional three-point play with 11 seconds left to bring the Lyons to within four at 59-55.
In the end, however, the Cougars made their free throws as Condon and Reilly both made a pair from the line to seal the win.
Neither team shot exceptionally well from the field, with Clark connecting on 35 percent of their attempts (23-for-65), while the Lyons netted just 34 percent of their shots.
For the second game in a row, Clark's opponent controlled the glass, with Mount Holyoke holding a 52-38 edge.
Pascual was the offensive force for the visitors, finishing with 16 points, a game-high 15 rebounds, six assists and four steals, Legare added 12 points and four boards and Kate Karraker (Morgantown, W.Va.) chipped in with ten.
Clark, meanwhile, was led by Condon's season-high 19 points, six assists and four rebounds and Reilly, who totaled 18 points and seven rebounds. Grondin was 7-for-13 from the field and ended with 17 points and six boards.
The Cougars are back in action on Friday when they travel to Wellesley College for a meeting with the Blue, while Mount Holyoke will look to snap its five-game slide when it hosts MIT on Friday as well.