NEW LONDON, Conn. – Behind a career-high 24 points from Francesca Pinard, the Mitchell College women's basketball team posted a 62-52 victory over Elms College on Thursday night in a New England Collegiate Conference showdown at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
Mitchell outscored Elms 21-12 in the fourth quarter to pick up its third straight win, improving to 11-11 overall and 10-3 in league play. Pinard shot 11-for-18 from the floor and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds while Marissa Sweeney chipped in with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Angelica Peguero-Flores paced Elms (7-13 overall, 6-6 NECC) with 19 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, including eight on the offensive glass. Molly Moulton added 18 points and four assists to round out the scorers in double figures.
Offense was hard to come by in the opening quarter as the teams combined for only 14 points. The ball finally started dropping in for both sides in the second period. Mitchell led 9-5 at the start of the stanza and pumped the margin to nine following a lay-up by Sweeney and a three by Allegra Jones.
The Blazers responded with a 9-2 run to close the gap. Moulton scored the first seven points during the stretch, burying shots on three consecutive trips down the floor. Mitchell never yielded the lead, however, and took a 28-22 edge into the halftime intermission. Pinard led all scorers with 12 points at the break while Moulton had nine, all in the final 7:35 of the half.
Elms kept it close throughout the third quarter, twice tying the game but never taking a lead. Mitchell led 41-40 heading into the fourth before the Blazers finally pulled in front, taking their first lead of the half on a bucket by Peguero-Flores on the opening possession of the period.
The lead changed hands three more times over the next 2:49, with the Mariners going on top 48-47 on a lay-up by Pinard. The Blazers tied the game at the 6:31 mark on a free throw by Moulton, but a free throw by Pinard put Mitchell back on top for good with 5:46 remaining.
The Mariners pulled away late, outscoring the Blazers 8-0 over the final 1:35. Haley Garcia came up with a pair of key steals in the final minute to help sew up the victory.
The win gives Mitchell a split of the regular season series against Elms. The Mariners have now won seven of their last eight NECC contests with three games remaining in the regular season.
Mitchell will next host Southern Vermont College on Saturday, February 10 at 1 p.m. Elms returns to action at home against Lesley University on Saturday at 1 p.m.