Springfield, Mass. – Visiting seventh-seed Clark University used a 22 point fourth quarter and several huge individual performances to stun second-seeded Springfield College, 65-54, in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball tournament on Wednesday evening.
The win for the Cougars sends them into the conference semifinals for the first time since 2005 when they defeated then top-seeded Mount Holyoke in overtime.
Clark will face the winner of the Coast Guard-WPI quarterfinal on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a contest hosted by Babson College.
Score: Clark University 65, Springfield College 54
Records: Clark University 14-12; Springfield College 18-8
Location: Blake Arena, Springfield College, Springfield, Mass.
How It Happened:
Clark got off to a hot shooting start, connecting on their first three three-pointers and ended the quarter in front, 19-12.
Things slowed down considerably in the second period for the Scarlet and White once they built a ten point lead (24-14). After Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) connected on a short jumper, Clark went nearly seven minutes without a point, allowing the Pride to close the gap.
Haley Wilder (Rindge, N.H.) finally ended the scoring drought with a long jumper and the Cougars went into halftime in front, 28-22 after a Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.) basket in the final ten seconds of the half.
Springfield made a run to start the third period and when Alex Goslin scored inside, they had their first lead since, 6-5 in the first quarter, 35-34.
Wilder gave the Cougars the lead right back when she scored six straight points for Clark sandwiched around a Lexi Windler three-pointer.
Goslin made another hoop to even the score at 40-40, but a Dominique St. Pierre (Portsmouth, N.H.) free throw and a Gwyneth Ivory (Ashland, Mass.) offensive rebound and putback with three seconds left in the quarter gave the Scarlet and White a 43-40 edge.
The score was 45-43 when Clark began to pull away beginning with a 10-2 spurt that featured a three-pointer from Wilder and three hoops from Ezemma.
Springfield made one more push, cutting the Cougar lead down to five as Ava Adamopoulos scored seven straight Pride points, but over the final two and half minutes Springfield went 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free throw line. In that same time, Clark went 8-for-12 from the charity stripe to salt the game away.
Inside The Boxscore:
Ezemma had more points in the game's first six minutes (10) than she had in either regular season matchup.
The two first quarter three-pointers from Ezemma marked just the second time she has made two three-pointers in a game in her career, which spans 51 games.
After making their first three three-pointers, Clark missed its next ten, until Wilder made her second of the game to put the Cougars back in front, 37-35 midway through the third quarter.
Ezemma registered her 11th double-double of the season, finishing with game-highs of 19 points and ten boards despite being saddle with foul trouble and playing just 24 minutes.
Sullivan, flirted with a triple-double, ending with nine points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.) totaled seven points and five steals – her seventh game this season with five or more thefts.
Wilder was the catalyst offensively for most of the night, collecting 16 points on an extremely efficient 5-for-6 from the floor.
The Cougars got a huge boost from their bench as Ivory (six points, five rebounds) and Kerstetter (seven points, four rebounds) provided a much needed spark.