NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Mitchell College women's basketball team saw its comeback attempt come up just short on Tuesday night, falling 64-62 to New England College in conference action at the Yarnall Athletic Center.
The Pilgrims, behind game highs of 22 points 10 assists from Rene Hudson, picked up their seventh-straight win. NEC (10-7 overall, 9-2 NECC) hasn't lost a game since dropping the first meeting against the Mariners on December 8.
NEC led by as many as 10 with 7:21 remaining in the contest, only to see Mitchell fight back to tie the game with just over two minutes to go. A free throw by Hudson gave NEC the lead with 31.2 seconds left, and the Mariners came up empty on three chances to tie or take the lead in the closing moments.
Hudson finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double and shot 4-for-8 from long range on the night. Daleia Boutwell added 13 points and six boards while Kayla Ramsay came off the bench to contribute nine points and six caroms.
All of Mitchell's scoring came from its starters, led by 18 points and eight rebounds from Amina Wiley. Kate McCormack added a career-high 13 points while Le'Sandra Turner and Kelsey Hernandez contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Both teams came out sluggish to start the game, and Mitchell led 13-11 after one period. The Pilgrims took their first lead on a layup by Boutwell with 6:48 remaining in the half, and the lead changed hands several times over the final 2:28 before a jumper by Turner put Mitchell on top 26-25 at the break.
A three-pointer by Haleigh Martin midway through the third quarter gave NEC the lead for the remainder of the stanza. Leading 40-36 heading into the fourth, the Pilgrims extended the margin to double digits on a three by Hudson with 8:07 to go.
Mitchell used a 7-0 run to whittle the deficit down to three with 5:56 remaining. McCormack supplied the first three points of the spurt while Wiley tacked on the final four. The Mariners later tied the game on a layup by McCormack that made it 60-60 with just over two minutes to play.
After Boutwell and Wiley traded buckets to make it 62-62 with a minute to go, Hudson was fouled on a defensive rebound and made one of two from the line to put the Pilgrims in front. A Mitchell miss forced another foul, and this time Boutwell sank one of two from the stripe to bump the NEC lead to two.
Turner had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds but drew iron, and Boutwell grabbed the rebound and was fouled with four seconds to play. Although she missed both free throws, the Mariners only had time for a desperation heave from half-court before time expired.
Mitchell (10-7 overall, 9-2 NECC) will next host Western Connecticut State University on Saturday, January 26 at 2 p.m. NEC returns to action at home against Becker College on Saturday at 4 p.m.