SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Bates College women's basketball team scored the first 17 points of the game and never looked back as it cruised past Newbury College, 80-60, in the consolation game of the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic on Tuesday afternoon in Blake Arena on the campus of Springfield College.
The loss dropped Newbury to 5-6 on the year, while Bates improved to 4-4. The Bobcats shot 31-for-67 (46.3%) in the victory, while the Nighthawks were just 22-of-53 (41.5%) in the setback.
For Bates, three players scored at least 11 points, led by Melanie Binkhorst (West Hartford, Conn.), who notched 20 points, while Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) poured in 17 of her own. The Bobcats dominated the glass with a 44-25 advantage, including 20 offensive boards that resulted in 24 second-chance points.
Bates seized control from the opening whistle, storming out to a 17-0 lead just over three minutes into the opening quarter, including seven points from Ariana Dalia (Brick, N.J.) At 4:12, Newbury broke into the scoring column with a pair of free throws by Tatianna Occena (Spring Valley, N.Y.), which kickstarted a 9-2 surge to pull the Knighthawks with 19-9 following a jumper by Sanders with 1:44 to play. Bates answered back with their fourth three-pointer of the stanza, this time by Julia Middlebrook (Ridgefield, Conn.), and would eventually own a 24-11 cushion after 10 minutes of play.
After Binkhorst converted inside at 6:31 of the second quarter, the Bobcats lead had grown to 34-15, but Newbury was able to close within 17 points on an Olsen putback at the 4:45 mark. However, Bates answered right back with a 7-2 burst, getting a triple from Binkhorst to gain a 22-point advantage with 3:31 remaining in the half. The Bobcats owned a 50-28 lead at halftime as they shot 53% from the field, including 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Newbury would get no closer than 20 points in the third quarter and Bates earned their largest cushion through three quarters when Skye Conley (New Gloucester, Maine) finished inside with under a minute to play to make it a 67-39 contest. Occena would drain a three to end the stanza, making it 67-42, Bates, heading to the fourth.
With 7:23 to play, Graff hit a lay-up to give Bates a 24-point lead, but Occena connected from deep again to pull the Nighthawks back to within 21. With 48 seconds to play, Graff dished a pass out to Meredith Melendy (Grantham, N.H.), who knocked it down to make it 80-58, Bobcats, but Jada Gee (Springfield, Mass.) would score the game's final basket, finishing the game at 80-60.
Release courtesy Springfield College Athletics