NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College women's basketball team claimed its first victory of the season on Saturday, topping Lesley University by a 60-46 final in the teams' New England Collegiate Conference opener at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Haley Garcia led four Mariners in double figures with 16 points and handed out five assists. Allegra Jones finished with 14 points while Ashleigh Beauford chipped in 11, and Francesca Pinard recorded her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The win was also the first in the head coaching career of Courtney Burns, who took over the Mitchell program this season.
Lesley's Theresa Pereira led all scorers with 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks. Cassidy Wygonik netted all 11 of her points in the second half and grabbed eight rebounds, while Dakota Jones contributed a game-high 11 boards.
Mitchell never trailed in the contest as Garcia delivered the game's first points with a three-pointer in the early going. Pereira answered with a three on Lesley's next possession to tie the game, but the Mariners scored the next six points and never looked back.
Garcia scored 10 points in the first quarter en route to 14 in the half, staking Mitchell to a 24-17 lead at the break. Pereira had 10 points in the opening half to keep the Lynx close.
The Mariners struggled to shoot the ball in the third quarter but made up for it at the free throw line. Their first nine points of the half came from the charity stripe, and it wasn't until the final seconds of the period that Marissa Sweeney connected on Mitchell's first field goal of the stanza. Despite the shooting woes, Mitchell led 36-30 heading into the final 10 minutes.
Lesley got within four points in the early stages of the fourth quarter before Mitchell scored seven of the next eight points to pump the lead to double digits. A three-pointer by Jones made it 43-33 with 6:46 to go, and the Mariners never let the margin dip back into single digits.
Mitchell's starting five accounted for all 60 points in the contest. Sweeney had a solid game while battling Lesley's trio of post players, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds and four steals while shooting 5-for-5 from the line. As a team the Mariners recorded season highs for free throws made (21) and free throw percentage (80.8).
Mitchell (1-4 overall, 1-0 NECC) will next host Cedar Crest College on Monday, December 4 at 6 p.m. Lesley (0-7 overall, 0-1 NECC) returns to action at home against Southern Vermont College on Tuesday, December 5 at 8 p.m.