Nighthawks Fall In Season Opener at Mount Ida, 82-70

Photo Credit: Noelle Sass
Photo Credit: Noelle Sass

NEWTON, Mass. --  Sophomore Valerie Martin (Derry, N.H.) scored 25 points, grabbed nine rebounds and recorded four steals to lead four players in double figures and lead Mount Ida to an 82-70 non-league college women's basketball victory over Newbury in the season opener for both teams Wednesday evening at the Athletic Center.

The host Mustangs (1-0) overcame a six-point first quarter deficit by opening the second stanza with a 12-4 run over the opening 4:02 of play to take a 26-24 edge on a lay-in by senior Imani Bumpus (Dedham, Mass.), and after the visiting Nighthawks (0-1) closed back to within one on a lay-in by senior Destiny Spears (Arnold, Md.), Mount Ida closed the half on another 12-4 run keyed by a combined nine points from Martin and Bumpus to take a 39-30 advantage at the break. 

After Newbury sliced its deficit to five on a jumper by junior Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) in the opening minute after intermission, the Mustangs blistered the nets at a 59 percent clip and used a 21-6 run over a seven minute stretch to build a 60-40 lead on a three-pointer by senior Breanna Muir (Wareham, Mass.) with 2:16remaining in the third quarter, but the Nighthawks closed the frame with a 9-1 run to trail by 11 (64-53) heading into the final 10 minutes of action.  Newbury crept back to within six (64-58) while holding the hosts scoreless for the first five minutes of the fourth stanza, but Muir keyed a 9-4 Mount Ida run with another three-pointer that extended the lead back to double digits (73-62) with just over two minutes to play in the contest, as the visitors got no closer than nine points in the final 1:43 of action. 

Muir finished with 20 points (including a trio of three-pointers), six rebounds and three assists in the triumph for the Mustangs, who also received 11 points, eight boards, four assists and three steals from Bumpus.  Senior Jaime Moscato (Taunton, Mass.) was also in double figures with 11 points and four caroms for the winners, who received eight points from senior Patricia Liotta (Hampton Bays, N.Y.) as well as five points off the bench from freshman Caity Oliver (Oviedo, Fla.).  Mount Ida shot 36 percent (19-53) from the field overall and canned seven from behind the arc on the evening, as the hosts held a 37-9 scoring advantage at the foul line that included a combined 30 conversions from the starting quintet of Martin, Moscato, Muir, Bumpus and Liotta.

 Olsen notched a double-double effort of 21 points and 11 rebounds in the setback for the Nighthawks, who also received a double-double performance of 16 points and 12 boards from Spears.  Freshman Precious Montgomery (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 14 points (including a pair of three-pointers) off the bench for Newbury, which received 13 points and nine rebounds from freshman Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Conn.).  Junior Tylar Barbato (Hillsdale, N.Y.) chipped in with six points and four rebounds for the visitors, who shot 39 percent (29-74) from the field overall but just 13 percent from three-point range.  The Nighthawks outrebounded the Mustangs by a 50-40 margin (19-10 on the offensive glass) but hurt themselves with 26 turnovers.

Mount Ida hosts Wheelock in opening round play of the 2017 Mustang Classic on Friday evening at the Athletic Center beginning at 7:00 p.m., while Newbury heads to Hartford, Conn. on Friday evening to square off with Fitchburg State in opening round action of the Saint Joseph Tip-Off Tournament that begins at 8:00 p.m.