Nighthawks Return to Winning Ways in 87-84 Win vs. Dean

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

BROOKLINE, Mass. - Nighthawks sophomore Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Conn.) and freshman Jada Gee (Springfield, Mass.) combined for 48 points, leading the Nighthawks offense in their 87-84 victory over the Dean Bulldogs on Tuesday night in New England Collegiate Conference play.

The win breaks a seven-game losing streak overall and a four-game losing streak in the NECC.

Sanders finished with 26 points along with 13 rebounds in 25 minutes. Gee went the full 40 minutes, scoring a career-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Sophomore Tatianna Occena (Spring Valley, N.Y.) added 15 points.

Bulldogs senior Iindia Pina (Carver, Mass.) scored a game-high 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting. Freshman Makayla Rudder (Springfield, Mass.) scored 22 points to go with 13 rebounds. Senior Amanda Miressi (New Rochelle, N.Y.) had 11 points off the bench.

The Nighthawks looked to have the game in hand with 2:01 remaining and leading by 13. However, Rudder and Pina combined for eight of Dean's final 12 points to cut the deficit down to 87-84 with 27 seconds remaining.

Occena had a chance to extend the Nighthawks lead to five, but missed a pair of foul shots, setting up Dean to have an opportunity to tie the game with the last possession.

The Bulldogs had two cracks at the tie but Miressi missed her shot from the left wing with 11 seconds left and Pina missed her attempt from the right wing with four seconds. The Bulldogs could not get a final shot at the tie before time expired.

Newbury shot 53.3 percent (32-for-60) and 46.2 percent (6-for-13) from beyond the arc; both season-highs. The Nighthawks have not shot over 53 percent in a game since Jan. 21, 2012, when they shot 55.2 percent vs. Bay Path.

"When we share the ball and we're strong with it, we have the players who can finish," said Head Coach Marc Taney. "It's been a long time coming but we need to continue to see the ball go through the net and simple passes and taking care of the ball will take care of that."

Newbury finished with 27 assists on 32 made field goals. The assist total is one short of the all-time program record set in 2003.

"Overall, we really played as a team tonight," said Gee. "We've been trying to come together with the transition of freshman coming in but tonight we played really hard together and that's why everything fell into place."

Freshman Meechie Manuel (Mobile, Ala.) had one of her most impactful performances of the season, finishing with nine points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

"This team works very hard with what's in front of us and their futures," said Taney. "I thought (Jada) Gee and (Meechie) Manuel both played as hard as they could and played the way I have expected them to play all season. We just need to keep that up."

The win moves the Nighthawks to 6-9 (4-5 NECC) while the loss drops the Bulldogs to 5-10 (3-5 NECC).

Both teams are in action on Thursday night. Newbury travels to Emmanuel for a 7:00 p.m. tip while the Bulldogs head to Bay Path for a 5:00 p.m. game.