Brookline, Mass. -- The Newbury College women's basketball team completed the season sweep against Lesley University following a 64-47 victory, in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action, on Senior Night, Monday evening. Reigning NECC Player of the Week, senior center Catherine O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.) surpassed her career single-game high pulling down 32 rebounds while netting 32 assists for her 13th double-double of the season.
O'Connell put the Nighthawks on the scoreboard early knocking down back-to-back buckets in the opening two minutes of the contest to take the 4-0 lead. However, the Lynx responded. First year guard Shannon Baker (Lynbrook, N.Y.) capped off a mini 6-0 run to give Lesley their first and only lead of the game at 17:22.
Midway through the half, Newbury first year guard Alex Pezzella (Rockland, Mass.) opened up the paint for O'Connell, draining three straight treys for nine of her 13 points in the half. With Pezzella an offensive threat from the outside, O'Connell went to work inside, notching a half-high 17 points and 18 boards to lead the Nighthawks into the locker room with a commanding 15-point lead, 36-21.
After outscoring the Lynx 20-4 inside the paint, the Nighthawks went back inside when the teams emerged from the locker room at the start of the second half. O'Connell continued to dominate the low-post. In addition to netting 15 points in the second stanza – which included a two-on-one, fast break lay-up sparked by a rebound by first year forward and sister Elyse O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.), Catherine recorded three of her game-high five blocks in the half.
Baker finished with a team-high 17 points for the Lynx, knocking down 5-of-8 from three-point range. Sophomore Anthea Rathjens (Sudbury, Mass.) hauled in ten rebounds while junior guard Emily Fleming (Medford, Mass.) came off the bench to finish with eight points, six rebounds, and a game-high four steals.
Coming point shy of tying her career single-game high with 32 points, Catherine O'Connell became the first player in Newbury women's basketball history to register 30 points and 30 rebounds in a single game. Pezzella followed up with 17 points and a game-high three assists while senior guard Nicole Silvia (Berkley ,Mass.) also dished out three assists in the victory.
Newbury improves to 13-10 and 11-5 in the conference action while Lesley falls to 3-19 and 2-14 in NECC play. The Nighthawks return to action tomorrow night February 12th, looking to complete the season series sweep against Wheelock College. Tip-off's at 7:30 p.m. on the campus of Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, Mass while Lesley will host Regis College at 8:00p on Wednesday.