BROOKLINE, Mass. - The Eastern Nazarene Lions used a 26-8 first quarter edge to create all the distance they needed in the Lions 77-58 victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Wednesday evening at Pappas Gymnasium in the New England Collegiate Conference opener for both teams.
Lions junior Courtney Barba (Pismo Beach, Calif.) scored a game-high 15 points. Junior Kyra Fleharty (Lewistown, Mont.) added 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior Tia Torio (Manteca, Calif.) scored 11 points and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
Nighthawks senior Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Conn.) added 12 points in 18 minutes. Freshman Jada Gee (Springfield, Mass.) finished with eight points off the bench.
The first quarter told the story tonight as the Lions led by as much as 21 in the opening quarter. Eastern Nazarene shot 11-for-18 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. The Lions outscored Newbury in second-chance points 12-0 and led 26-8 after the first 10 minutes. Torio had eight in the quarter.
In the second, Newbury cut the deficit to 11 at one point, but a Lions 11-2 scoring run reestablished their large lead, which stood at 43-26 at the half.
Newbury couldn't answer the Lions in the second half, with Eastern Nazarene taking a 25 point lead at its largest point. The Lions took home a 19-point win, 77-58.
In the final three quarters, Newbury hung in with Eastern Nazarene, with the Lions outscoring the Nighthawks by one, 51-50, in the final 30 minutes.
The win moves the Lions to 3-1 (1-0 NECC) while the loss drops the Nighthawks to 2-2 (0-1 NECC).
Newbury has a week off before returning next Tuesday for more NECC play as they travel to Lesley for an 8:00 p.m. tip. The Lions continue their season this Saturday with a non-conference battle, hosting Anna Maria at 1:00 p.m.