The Newbury College women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a decisive, 76-36, victory over Southern Vermont College, Saturday afternoon. Senior guard Kendra Bannister (Washington, D.C.) led four Nighthawks in double figures registering her third double-double of the season, netting 14 points while ripping down 11 boards en route to the victory.
Senior forward Rachel Wyszynski (Wilbraham, Mass.) opened the day, picking the pocket of Mountaineer first year Shauna Poole (Lyndonville, Vt.) as the Nighthawks offense was firing on all cylinders early, jumping out to an early 10-2 lead but Southern Vermont continued to hang around.
After first year guard Nephie Marsh (Brockton, Mass.) converted a steal into two points midway through the first half to give the Nighthawks the 10-point advantage, Mountaineer senior Joa Claircius (Clermont, Fla.) sparked a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to three. Junior center Catherine O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.) ended the run three minutes later, knocking down back-to-back free throws following a monster offensive board at 7:39.
The two teams exchanged buckets for the next two minutes before Southern Vermont senior guard Sherrita Hall (Temple, Md.) closed the gap to one which lit a fuse under the Nighthawks.
With five minutes remaining in the first, O'Connell ignited an 18-0 run to end the period, picking the pocket of the Mountaineers leading scorer, Claircius. Bannister converted the easy lay-up at the other end and the Nighthawks were off. Senior center Felicia Jones (Randolph, Mass.) put an exclamation point on the half with the put-back lay-up before Marsh capped off the run draining a trey with 19 seconds left to send Newbury into the locker room with the 38-20 lead.
The Nighthawks offense continued to sizzle when the teams returned to the hard-court at the start of the second. With under five minutes remaining the contest, senior guard Shayla White (Dorchester, Mass.) connected with first year center Jamie Vankoeverden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for a mid-range jumper as the entire Nighthawk roster finished the day with points.
Marsh came off the bench and dropped 11 of her game-high 16 points while Jones was a force in the post snatching away six of her career single-game high, 10 boards including her second put-back off the game late in the contest. O'Connell and senior guard Morganna Machado (Attleboro, Mass.) rounded out the Nighthawks' foursome in double-figures netting 10 on the afternoon.
Newbury finishes the regular season improving to 15-10 and 13-5 in conference action while Southern Vermont falls to 7-18 and 6-12 in the NECC. The Nighthawks will wait to see who they will host in the conference quarterfinals on Tuesday February 21st.
Before the game the Nighthawks honored seniors Kendra Bannister, Felicia Jones, Morganna Machado, Shayla White and Rachel Wyszynski, who were playing in their final regular season home game of their collegiate careers… Felicia Jones finished the afternoon setting career game-highs points and rebounds, tallying seven and 10 respectively …Kendra Bannister was three assists shy of an elusive triple-double, dishing out seven assists…Pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds, O'Connell registered her 19th double-double of the season.