Hartford, Conn -- Destiny Spears' (Arnold, Maryland) drove the length of the court in the final seven seconds and banked in a layup as the buzzer sounded to give the Newbury College Nighthawks a memorable 76-74 victory over the Fitchburg State University Falcons Friday evening in the first round of the USJ Invitational hosted by the University of St. Joseph's (CT) in Hartford, Connecticut. With the win, the Nighthawks improve to 1-1 on the season while Fitchburg State drops to 0-2 on the young season.
"The women played hard today, all 200 minutes, all 10 players were fully engaged," said Coach Taney, "We defended well and never gave up. Only when we defend well and play hard, we will be a tough out for anyone."
First-year guard Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Connecticut) led all Nighthawk scorers with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Sanders collected 13 rebounds, tallied one assist and collected three steals on the night for the victors. Junior Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Michigan) added 19 points on an efficient 7 of 9 shooting for Newbury. The forward also added seven rebounds and three assists.
Taylor Kelly (Billerica, Massachusetts) had 17 points and seven rebounds while Spears was the fourth Nighthawk in double figures, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nighthawks trailed 26-21 after the first quarter but outscored the Falcons 20-10 in the 2nd frame to hold a 41-36 lead at the break. Following a 19-11 advantage in the 3rd quarter, the Nighthawks seems comfortably in control heading into the fourth leading 60-47.
The Falcons chipped away at the Nighthawks lead throughout the final 10 minutes, outscoring Newbury 27-14 to tie the game at 74-74 with 7 seconds remaining. The fourth quarter rally only led to Spear's late-game heroics which sent the Nighthawks to the USJ Invitational final tomorrow against the University of St. Joseph's (CT). Tip-off is scheduled for 3:00 PM.