NEW LONDON, Conn. – Mitchell College outscored Dean College 17-8 in the fourth quarter to seal a 66-57 victory in a New England Collegiate Conference women's basketball showdown on Tuesday night at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Francesca Pinard finished with 16 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to pace the Mariners, who improved to 5-2 in league play and handed the Bulldogs their first NECC loss. Ashleigh Beauford also recorded a double-double—the first of her career—with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Allegra Jones netted 13 points to go with four steals. Kate McCormack dished out a career-high 12 assists and tied the school's Division III single game record.
Nicole Romero came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points for the Bulldogs. Iindia Pina chipped in with 13 points while Morgan Turner contributed a double-double of 10 points and 14 boards.
With the contest tied at 11-11 in the opening quarter, Dean used a 9-1 run to open up its largest lead of the night. Pina supplied a lay-up and a three-pointer to start the stretch, and a pair of free throws by Shania Springer gave the Bulldogs a 20-12 lead with 1:05 left to play in the period. The Mariners fired back with baskets from Pinard and Dejia Santana in the final 53 seconds to cut the deficit to four after one.
A three-pointer by Jessica Lohneiss and a jumper by McCormack pushed the Mariners in front early in the second. Neither side led by more than three in the stanza until a lay-up by Pinard in the final minute capped the first-half scoring and yielded a 34-29 Mitchell lead at the break.
The Mariners went up by seven in the third quarter but couldn't hold the lead. The Bulldogs tied the game at 45-45 on a jumper by Turner with 1:19 to go in the period. Mitchell responded with a three from Jones and a free throw by Pinard to go back up by four, but Dean scored twice in the final 14 seconds to make it 49-49 heading into the fourth. Jamaya Cleveland provided the spark, burying a jumper and then making a steal to feed Romero for the tying lay-up.
Dean scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to take a 54-49 lead, and Pina later tacked on a three that put the visitors up six with 5:41 to go. However, the Bulldogs didn't score another point after that, missing on 11 straight attempts before the final buzzer.
The Mariners took advantage, scoring 15 unanswered points to turn the tide. Mitchell pulled ahead for good on a pair of free throws by Jones with 2:59 to play, and 1:30 later she buried a three that pushed the margin to six.
Mitchell finished with a 53-38 advantage on the glass and shot just under 40 percent for the game. Dean checked in at 32 percent but shot 3-for-14 from long range.
McCormack's 12 assists tied the mark held by Jennifer Iglesias '10 and Kaylee Cerruto '13. Iglesias twice reached the mark--both times against Southern Vermont College--while Cerruto did so against Newbury College.
Mitchell (6-9 overall, 5-2 NECC) will next play at Becker College on Thursday, January 18 at 6 p.m. Dean (7-5 overall, 4-1 NECC) returns to action at home against Wheelock College on Thursday at 6 p.m.