NEW LONDON, Conn. – Mitchell College led from wire to wire in a 59-52 victory over Southern Vermont College on Saturday afternoon in a New England Collegiate Conference women's basketball showdown at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Mariners, who led by as many as 20 points in the contest, fended off a late comeback to improve to 12-11 overall (11-3 NECC). Haley Garcia finished with 18 points, four assists and two steals to pace Mitchell, which picked up its fourth straight win and swept the regular season series from SVC. Marissa Sweeney added a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds while Francesca Pinard chipped in with nine points and nine boards.
Southern Vermont (3-20 overall, 2-12 NECC) outscored Mitchell 33-23 in the second half and pulled within four points in the final minutes before running out of steam. Maddy Main led all scorers with 21 points—15 of which came in the second half—and also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. Dani Biggers contributed 13 points while Taylor Mallett finished with eight points and six boards.
Mitchell held SVC to 2-for-12 shooting in the opening quarter and led 12-4 heading into the second period. The Mariners then used a 13-0 run at the end of the half to open up a big lead. Five different players contributed baskets during the stretch, which put Mitchell on top 36-16 with 36 seconds to play in the half. A three-pointer by Biggers ended the run and made the score 36-19 at the break.
The Mountaineers scored the first six points of the second half to immediately cut into the deficit, then spent the rest of the third quarter trying to edge back into the game. A three-pointer by Sarah Poirier briefly brought the deficit down to single digits, but Garcia responded with a trey on the other end to bring the buffer back to 11.
SVC trailed by 10 heading into the final quarter. A three by Main in the opening minute of the period was the beginning of an 8-0 stretch for the Mountaineers, who pulled within 50-46 following three free throws by Biggers with 4:55 to play.
After getting a stop on the defensive end, Mitchell went up by six on a jumper by Allegra Jones with 3:59 to go. Ariana Carter then came up with a block and a rebound on the ensuing SVC possession, and the Mariners cashed in on their next offensive trip with a three-pointer from Jordan Lohneiss to extend the lead to 55-46.
A lay-up by Mallett and a three-point play from Main brought SVC within four once again with 51 ticks left on the clock, but Mitchell closed out the win at the free throw line. Both Sweeney and Garcia each drained a pair of freebies in the final 19 seconds to seal the victory.
Mitchell will next play at Dean College on Tuesday, February 13 at 7 p.m. Southern Vermont returns to action at home against Bay Path University on Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m.