-Score: Clark University 67, Coast Guard Academy 64
-Records: Clark (10-12, NEWMAC 6-7), Coast Guard (6-16, NEWMAC 4-9)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Kneller Athletic Center)
-The Lead: The Clark University women's basketball team battled their way to a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory over the Bears of Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday evening. The game saw five ties and four lead changes before the Cougars were able to pull away with the 64-67 advantage in the final minute of play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
-Clark won the tip-off and got on the board with their first possession of the game when senior Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.) found her classmate Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.) open under the hoop (2-0). The hosts pulled ahead by as many as five in the first stanza when first year Virginia Benbow (Durham, Conn.) knocked one in from behind the arc and found her way to the basket for two with 2:07 on the clock (14-9). Benbow finished the quarter leading the Cougars in scoring with seven points. Seniors Micaela Martinelli (Vero Beach, Fla.) and Johanna Moolenaar (Denver, N.C.) added four points each for the Bears. The first stanza saw four lead changes and two ties before Clark took a 19-15 advantage into the second.
-The Cougars outscored the Bears 18-12 in the second period led by senior Cori Ouellette (Madison, Conn.) who put up seven points including two three-pointers. Coast Guard came within one when first year Emma Puddington (Castorland, N.Y.) added four points from a jumper and a pair of free-throws with just under eight minutes on the clock (20-19). That is as close as they would come as Clark went on to take a 10-point lead into the halftime break (37-27).
-Coast Guard came out of the break strong, fighting back to tie the game at 43 apiece with 4:45 on the clock. Junior Zoe Riis-Fallica (Patchogue, N.Y.) hit a three-pointer in the rally for the Bears. Clark never gave up the lead and finished the quarter leading the Bears by five, 52-47. Ezemma added six points for Clark from the free-throw line in the third while sophomore Hannah Favaloro (Blackstone, Mass.) added four points from a layup and a pair of free-throws. Coast Guard edged Clark in scoring in the third, 20-15. Moolenaar and Martinelli each put up four more points in the quarter to lead the Bears.
-After Clark pulled ahead by seven at the start of the final period Coast Guard's Martinelli and Brenna Wood both went 2-for-2 at the charity stripe to bring the Bears back within three (57-54). The Cougars responded with a rally of their own that including four points from senior Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass.) who made drives to the basket to help the hosts pull ahead by 10 with 3:36 to play. Wood went up strong to the hoop and finished an and-one play with a made free-throw to bring the Bears back within three with 2:06 to play (64-61). Two made free-throws from Wood with 33 seconds to play tied the game at 64 apiece but Clark responded with two made free-throws from Kerstetter to reclaim the 66-64 lead. The Cougars finished with the final 67-64 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Ezemma led Clark in scoring with 14 points and added 13 rebounds to finish with a double-double in the victory. Kerstetter added 13 points and Favaloro added 11 points and nine rebounds for Clark.
-Puddington led the Bears with 15 points, Martinelli finished with 14 points, and Wood rounded out double-digit scoring with 11 points for the Bears.
-Clark shot 39.6% from the field while Coast Guard shot 37.3%.
-Clark outrebounded the Bears, 44-34.
-Coast Guard finished the night shooting 90% from the free-throw line (18-for-20) while Clark shot 59.5% (22-for-37) from the charity stripe.
-Clark forced the Bears to turn the ball over 18 times and scored 13 points from those turnovers. Coast Guard forced 16 Clark turnovers and turned them into 13 points of their own.
-The game saw a total of five ties and four lead changes.
-Clark hosts Emerson College on Saturday, February 9th for a NEWMAC contest at 1:00 p.m. They Cougars will celebrate senior day before tip-off.
-Coast Guard is on the road again on Saturday when they travel to Wellesley for a 1:00 p.m. conference matchup.