QUINCY, MA – No. 3 seed Daniel Webster College (18-9) earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament with their victory in the New England Collegiate Conference Championship title game, 64-52 over No. 1 seed Lesley University (16-11) on Saturday in at Eastern Nazarene.
Tournament Most Valuable Player Vanessa Bosques (N. Windham, CT/Windham) carried the Eagles offensively all day long, pouring in a game-high 27 points on 11-19 shooting and 3-7 from long range. All-tournament selection Sarah Paternostro (Glastonbury, CT/Glastonbury) added 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Tonisha Tate (Lynn, MA/Lynn Classical) provided 13 points off the bench on 6-7 shooting.
For Lesley, All-Tournament Team selection Kaitlyn Wechsler (Merrick, NY/Our Lady Mercy) led the way with 22 points, breaking Lesley University's all-time scoring record with 1,471 points. After 30 or more points in her last three games, reigning NECC Player of the Week and fellow All-Tourney pick Rachael O'Mara (Levittown, NY/General Douglas MacArthur) went for 11 points, four assists and four steals. Senior center Brianne Caira (Pelham, NH/Pelham) chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
A pick-and-roll between O'Mara and Cassidy Freed (Brattleboro, VT/Brattleboro Union) gave the Lynx an early 4-3 lead, but a give and go between Paternostro and Alycia Gervais (Windham, CT/Windham) took back the lead for the Eagles.
The two teams exchanged leads until an O'Mara spin move in the lane made it a 14-14 tie at the 11:20 mark. Bosques, though, proved to be the difference in the first half, as a fast break layup and a put-back layup gave Daniel Webster a four-point lead that they would hold for a majority of the final 10 minutes.
Lesley took the lead but briefly, going ahead 26-25 on a Wechsler layup with 2:25 to play, but the Eagles scored four straight to close out the half, going into halftime leading 29-26. The Lynx outrebounded DWC 25-15 for the half and shot 43.5 percent to 36.4 percent for the Eagles, but 13 Lesley turnovers to only six for the Eagles gave them a three-point advantage at the break.
Bosques continued her sharp shooting with a three-pointer and a layup out of halftime. After two Wechsler layups to keep the Lynx close, Paternostro then knocked down a jumper from downtown followed up by consecutive layups by Tonisha Tate and one from Kirsten Murphy (Woodstock, VT/Woodstock Union) to give the Eagles their largest lead yet, 47-34 at the 12:20 mark.
O'Mara gave the Lynx life with a pair of free throws and a pull up jumper to cut the deficit to nine with 10 minutes remaining. A Regan floater in the lane extended the Eagles lead to 15 at 57-42 just under the 3:00 mark, all but putting the league championship in the book aside from Wechsler's rewriting of the Lesley record book.
A pair of free throws from the senior forward in the closing seconds gave her 1,471 points for her storied careed, breaking 2001 alumna Tia Cleckley's mark of 1,469.
The season continues for MVP Bosques and the Eagles, as Daniel Webster now awaits word on its opponent for next weekend's NCAA Tournament.
2010-11 New England Collegiate Conference All-Tournament Team
Becker College: Freshman guard Haley Ooms (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane)
Mitchell College: Senior guard Alix O'Neil (New London, CT/New London)
Lesley University: Senior forward Kaitlyn Wechsler (Merrick, NY/Our Lady Mercy)
Lesley University: Senior guard Rachael O'Mara (Levittown, NY/Gen. Douglas MacArthur)
Daniel Webster College: Junior guard Sarah Paternostro (Glastonbury, CT/Glastonbury)
Daniel Webster College: Junior guard Vanessa Bosques (N. Windham, CT/Windham)