-Score: Emerson College 67, Clark University 65
-Records: Clark (10-13, NEWMAC 6-8), Emerson (15-8, NEWMAC 9-5)
-Location: Worcester, Mass. (Kneller Athletic Center)
-The Lead: The Clark University women's basketball team and the Lions of Emerson College battled for four quarters in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference matchup on Saturday afternoon. The Lions came out victorious as last second free-throws were the deciding factor in the game. Prior to the game Clark recognized seven seniors for Senior Day: Kacey Legare (Chicopee, Mass.), Sam O'Gara (Worcester, Mass.), Danielle Hearnlaye (Auburn, Mass.), Ogechi Ezemma (Hope Valley, R.I.), Cori Ouellette (Madison, Conn.), Maggie Tarbox (Lebanon, Conn.), and Maya Kerstetter (Northampton, Mass.).
HOW IT HAPPENED
-Clark hopped on the board first when Kerstetter hit a deep three-pointer that was dished to her from sophomore Hannah Favaloro (Blackstone, Mass.). The Lions pulled ahead by one when junior Quinn Madden (Mokena, Ill.) finished a three-point play with a made free-throw (8-7) at the 4:46 mark. The Cougars pulled ahead by four on a jumper from Favaloro before Emerson took a two point advantage to close out the first quarter, 16-14.
-The Lions pulled ahead by eight with 5:36 on the clock when a drive to the basket by sophomore Sam Boyle (Scotts Valley, Calif.) sparked a 4-0 run that forced the Cougars to call their first timeout of the game. Junior Natalie Clydesdale (Pittsburgh, Penn.) and senior Charlie Boyle (Scotts Valley, Calif.) both added baskets in the rally that put Emerson ahead 25-16. The Cougars closed the gap to five when Legare dished the ball to Ezemma who went up strong to the hoop and Kerstetter came up with a steal that resulted in a three-point play. The Lions took a 35-30 advantage into the halftime break.
-Ezemma led all scorers in the first half with 12 points while Clydesdale led Emerson with six points before the break.
-The Lions came out of the locker rooms strong putting up six points in the opening three minutes to pull ahead by 12 with 7:18 on the clock. After a timeout the Cougars responded with a rally of their own, putting up eight points to pull back within four, 42-38, with 5:05 on the clock. Ezemma added four points in the run. Sophomore Ashley Toner (Barnegat, N.J.) knocked down a three-pointer with 38 seconds on the clock to help lift the Lions to a seven point lead heading into the final stanza (49-42).
-Emerson was able to pull ahead by as many as 11 at the start of the fourth quarter before Clark put up seven unanswered points, capped off by an and-one play from Favaloro to bring the hosts within four (53-49). Junior Katie Foultz (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) hit a basket from behind the arc with 7:28 on the clock to put the Lions back up by seven (56-49). First year Virginia Benbow (Durham, Conn.) hit a three-pointer from the left corner to bring Clark within just one with 1:21 to play (63-32) and with just 11 seconds on the clock Kerstetter found her in the same spot as she sank another three to give the Cougars the lead 65-64. Toner knocked down two at the free-throw line with just four seconds on the clock to clinch the final victory for the Lions, 67-65.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-Ezemma led all scorers with 21 points and added eight rebounds. Favaloro put up a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Benbow came off the bench with 16 points to round out double-digit scoring for the Cougars.
-Sam Boyle and Toner each put up 12 points for Emerson and Foultz added 10 points in the victory.
-Clark shot 39.1% from the field while Emerson shot 38.3%.
-The Cougars outrebounded Emerson 41-29.
-The Lions shot 84.2% from the free-throw line (16-for-19) and Clark shot 71.4% from the charity stripe (25-for-35).
-Emerson forced Clark to turn the ball over 27 times and converted them into 21 points of their own. Clark forced 17 turnovers by the Lions and turned them into 21 points of their own.
-The game saw six ties and five lead changes.
-Clark is back at home on Wednesday, February 13th when they host Mount Holyoke in a NEWMAC contest at 7:00 p.m.
-Emerson hosts WPI on Wednesday, February 13th in conference action at 7:00 p.m.