#2 Southern Maine Holds Off #7 Women's Basketball 53-45 In LEC Quarterfinals

#2 Southern Maine Holds Off #7 Women's Basketball 53-45 In LEC Quarterfinals

GORHAM, Maine—After sticking with the defending Little East Conference champions for over 32 minutes, UMass Boston women's basketball (13-13) fell just short, in a season-ending 53-45 loss to second-seeded University of Southern Maine (19-7) in the Little East Conference Quarterfinals.

The seventh-seeded Beacons trailed by just two at the halftime and were within four at the midway point of the second half, before the Huskies went on a 10-1 run to take control of the contest.

Tuesday night's contest marked the final game for seniors Andrea Suffredini (Milford, Mass.), Elisa Ogawa (Yamanashi, Japan) and Shelby Buck (Greenfield, Ohio). The trio wrap up their careers as the second-most successful class in program history with 48 career victories.

Suffredini, Ogawa and junior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) teamed up to score nearly three-quarters of the Beacons' points in the contest with 33 of UMB's 45 points.

Morrison led the way with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Suffredini added 12 points and six assists. Ogawa recorded a team-high three steals and added seven rebounds and eight points.

Junior Rebecca Knight led the hosts with a game-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Mariah Callender registered eight points and three steals. Hannah Fenwick helped Southern Maine earn a huge advantage on the boards with 11 of the Huskies' 35 total rebounds.

Despite turning the ball over 24 times and losing the rebounding battle (35-25), the Beacons kept themselves in the game behind the strength of their 3-point shooting. UMass Boston knocked down a season-high 46.7 percent (7-for-15) of their 3-pointers, behind multiple threes from Suffredini (three), Ogawa and Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.).

Despite opening the game on a 7-2 run in the opening five minutes, Southern Maine found itself in a dogfight with the Beacons late in the opening stanza.

With points at a premium, the Huskies led the Beacons 22-19 with 1:52 to play on a pair of free throws from Knight, before Suffredini canned one of her three three-pointers of the game to tie the score at 22 all.  Suffredini's three was the third for the Beacons in the final six minutes of the half.  The Huskies were able to take a slim 24-22 lead at the break in their final possession as Knight hit a cutting Fenwick for a lay-in with 33 second to play, before Fenwick came up with a block on the Beacons final possession of the half. Ogawa helped keep the Beacons in the contest throughout the first half, with all eight of her points coming in the opening stanza. 

The game remained tight in the first 10 minutes of the second half and the Beacons trailed the Huskies by just four points, 35-31, with 10:11 to play following a layup from freshman Mallory Nelson (Topsham, Maine). However, the Huskies used a 10-1 run over the next four minutes to grab its largest lead of the game, 45-32, with 5:48 to play. Four different players scored for the Huskies, highlighted by steal and a fast-break layup from Callender for a traditional three-point play.

UMass Boston made a push over the next three minutes with a 12-4 spurt. Perra and Suffredini bookended the run with three-pointers, while Morrison added six points in the middle.  After Suffredini's three with 2:08 to play, the Beacons trailed USM 49-44. 

Both teams squandered possession over then next 1:30 and Suffredini made it a four-point, 49-45, game with 32 second to play with one of two free throws, before the Huskies closed out the game on the line with Erin McNamara and Callender each hitting two free throws for the 53-45 final.