Leicester, MA: After a 26 game campaign spanning four months, the women's basketball team bowed out for the season after losing to Becker College in the NECC Tournament first round on Tuesday, February 20. It was always going to be a tough ask for head coach Jake Mattleman to come up with a victory in Leicester with an injury hit roster as he had only eight players at his disposal for this play-off game compared to Becker, who had 11 reserves. The Lynx were well in contention as they trailed by six points at the end of the opening quarter. However, Becker inflicted the damage with a nine point run in the second quarter and straight after half-time, the Hawks powered clear with a 12 point streak. Theresa Pereira and Linda Wallentine left everything on the court for the away team but their valiant efforts were not enough to keep Lesley's season going. Pereira finished as her team's top-scorer with 14 points while Linda Wallentine shot for 11 points.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- Lesley forward Abby Henderson got the opening score of the play-off game with a jump shot which was swiftly countered by Becker who enjoyed an eight point run with baskets from four different players.
- Former player of the week recepient Dakota Jones got the Lynx's next score with a jump shot of her own. A 3 pointer from Karyn McEvoy and a layup from reserve Theresa Pereira were Lesley's only other conversions in the opening quarter. At the conclusion of the first 10 minutes, the Hawks were 15-9 in front with Sarah Ware playing a vital part in her team's early advantage.
- Becker upped their performance in the second quarter and landed nine unanswered points to lead 25-9. The pick of the scores during Becker's ruthless streak was a 3-pointer from reserve Erin Gaudette.
- Dakota Jones snapped the Hawks run and resumed scoring for Lesley with a quick pair of layups and her teammates Theresa Pereira and Linda Wallentine (3-pointer) followed up with baskets later in the quarter. Wallentine's score from an Elizabeth Portante assist came with only 4 seconds remaining in the half. At the 15 minute interval, Lesley trailed by 31-18.
- For the second quarter in a row, Becker were the quickest to add to their tally and on this occasion the home team went on a dominant 12 point run to cruise into a 43-18 winning advantage. Sarah Ware was prominent during this spell for the Hawks with two layups while Cassidy Harrison sunk a 3-pointer.
- It was Theresa Pereira's turn to snap a Hawk scoring streak with a 3-pointer and while they were guilty of a shot clock violation, Lesley dusted themselves down as Dakota Jones canned two layups in the space of 20 seconds.
- The biggest gap between the sides in the third quarter was 22 points but by the end of the period, Lesley had pulled the deficit back to 52-34. Elizabeth Portante and Theresa Pereira punished Becker foula by sinking two free throws each in the quarter.
- The prospect of victory looked slim for Lesley but it did not deter the away team from attempting to overturn Becker's lead in the final quarter. Freshman Karyn McEvoy and Theresa Pereira both connected with 3-pointers and Pereira followed up her score with a floating jump shot whilst falling to the floor, a moment which drew a huge reaction from the crowd.
- Linda Wallentine probed hard for Lesley in the hope of a late comeback and she narrowed the gap to 11 points, the lowest margin in the quarter, with a 3-pointer and the guard concluded the game's scoring with a jump shot with 16 seconds left on the clock.
- Lesley had the better of their opponents in one category as their free throw percentage for the entire game was 60% compared to Becker's 47.4%.
- Becker had a bigger pool of reserves to choose from and their back-up players scored 30 points compared to 14 points from the Lesley bench, all of which came from Theresa Pereira.
Theresa Pereira 14 points, 4 rebounds
Linda Wallentine 11 points, 4 rebounds
Adrianna Dowdy 13 points, 6 rebounds
Cassidy Harrison 13 points, 4 steals
THE INSIDE SCOOP:
"We fought hard all season and really accomplished a lot as a group. We will continue to make progress. I'm proud of our family for coming together. Hats off to Becker, they challenged us at a high level," said Lesley head coach Jake Mattleman.
Lesley's season is over after this defeat. Becker advance to the NECC Tournament semi-final where they will travel to face Mitchell College on Thursday, February 22 at 7pm.