CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior Grace Amato (South Royalton, Vt.) registered her second straight double-double leading the way with a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Lesley University women's basketball team picked up their first win of the 2013-2014 season with a 56-53 victory over New England Collegiate Conference foe Bay Path College tonight at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols. The Lynx move to 1-11 on the year and 1-4 in NECC play while the Wildcats fall to 3-9 overall and 2-3 in conference action.
Sophomore Ari Dimou (Manchester, N.H.) and senior Sarah Apgar (Andover, N.J.) were also in double-figures for the Lynx finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Apgar also pulled down six boards and swiped four steals. Senior forward Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) helped with the effort on the glass as she grabbed ten caroms while classmate Emily Fleming (Medford, Mass.) led the Lynx with four assists.
Senior Kayla Skiffington (East Longmeadow, Mass.) carried the offense for the Wildcats, posting a double-double with game-highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Aaliyah Gordon (Springfield, Mass.) chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds while sophomore Gladys Reed (Hampden, Conn.) pulled down ten boards for the visitors. Junior Katherine Chabot (Brookfield, Mass.) was a stalwart on the defensive end, continually cutting into passing lanes on her way to a game-high six steals.
After exchanging buckets to open the game, a Dimou trey gave the Lynx a 5-3 lead just 2:43 into the game. Lesley would play with the lead throughout the majority of the first half, and used a 5-0 run with just over 11-minutes to go to open up their biggest lead of the night, 20-13. Amato sunk back-to-back free throws to open the streak while freshman guard Tara Coleman (Lanoka Harbor, N.J.) capped it with a three from the left wing.
Bay Path would answer with a strong 17-4 run to take a six-point edge of their own, regaining the lead 30-24. Skiffington, who had 17 of her 24 points in the first half, sparked the streak, scoring eight straight points while Gordon pitched in with six points of her own during the run.
Lesley would chip away and scored the final four points of the opening period in the final 17-seconds and would head into the locker room trailing 31-29 at the end of the first stanza.
Bay Path would hold the lead through the first 18-minutes of the tightly-played second half, extending to a six-point lead on three separate occasions, but the Lynx would not let the visitors pull away.
With 2:35 to go, Fleming would knock down consecutive free throws to cut the Wildcat lead to three, 53-50, before Coleman would hit a big three to knot things up with 2:06 remaining. After exchanging possessions, Amato stole an entry pass, was fouled, and went to the line with the Wildcats being in the double-bonus. The junior would knock down both shots from the line, regaining the Lynx first lead since the 7:38 mark in the first half, sealing Lesley's first win of the season.
The Lynx shot 32-percent (16-of-50) from the field while knocking down 72.4-percent (21-of-29) from the free throw line. The Wildcats struggled from the field, connecting on 23.4-percent (15-of-64) from the floor, including going 0-10 from three-point land, while hitting only 59-percent (23-of-39) from the line.
Lesley returns to the floor on Saturday when they host Elms College at 5:30p at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols. Bay Path will also be home on Saturday when they welcome Mitchell College for a 3:00p tip-off at Holyoke Community College.