BENNINGTON, Vt. – A strong second half by the visiting Bay Path College women's basketball team helped secure the 71-55 victory over Southern Vermont College Wednesday night at the Mountaineer Athletic Center in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action.
Two Mountaineers recorded a double-double with freshman forward Kala MacKenzie (Fair Haven, Vt.) scoring a game-high 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds; her five shot blocks make her the all-time single-season and career SVC block leader. Freshman forward Javasha White (Schenectady, N.Y.) scored 14 points and pulled down a game-high 17 boards in the effort.
Bay Path was led by junior forward Kayla Skiffington (E. Longmeadow, Mass.) who scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds, five assists, four steals, and two blocks. Freshman forward Gladys Reed (Hampden, Conn.) also notched a double-double with 11 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 13-6 lead with help from back-to-back jumpers by Skiffington created by one of her steals. Southern Vermont responded with eight unanswered capped by a layup from freshman captain Amber Flagg (Windsor, Conn.) to take a momentary lead. A 3-pointer by BPC sophomore guard Toni Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) put the Wildcats back ahead before the teams swapped baskets.
Two layups by Bay Path sophomore guard Katherine Chabot (Brookfield, Mass.) preceded a Skiffington layup to give the Wildcats a 26-20 advantage with 4:54 left to play in the half. SVC battled back and regained the lead after two converted free throws by freshman forward Sarah McDonald (Cohoes, N.Y.), going ahead 28-26 with just over a minute to go in the opening stanza.
The sister duo pushed the Wildcats in front with seconds to play as senior guard Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) made a layup followed by a steal from Toni who got fouled while making a lay-in; her shot at the stripe was good and Bay Path went into the locker room with a 33-30 lead.
SVC came out strong in the second with two White free throws and a layup by MacKenzie to go up 34-33. It would not stand long, however, as Bay Path went on an 11-1 run over the next five minutes. Three Flagg free throws split by a White layup closed it back to 43-40 in favor of the Wildcats, but Reed responded with five of her own to increase the lead with just over 11 minutes to go.
Mountaineer freshman guard Mariah Anothony (Northfield, Mass.) knocked down a jumper, soon followed by two more Flagg free throws to make it a 49-46 game. Toni Alexander would hit one from behind the arc to disallow Southern Vermont to get any closer. With the Wildcats up four, they would go on an 11-2 run to make it 63-50 with 6:19 left on the clock. Bay Path was able to convert at the free throw line down the stretch and eventually left with the 71-55 win.
McDonald finished with 15 rebounds to go along with four points, two assists and a block for the Mountaineers while Flagg recorded 12 points and four assists on the night.
Chabot followed Skiffington on the Bay Path side with 15 points and two steals. Toni Alexander finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals as her sister Brittney scored nine points in addition to her 10 rebounds.
The Mountaineers (3-21 overall, 3-14 NECC) will conclude their season Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. game at Lesley University, and Bay Path (11-12 overall, 8-9 NECC), playoff bound, will wrap up the regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. tip at Becker College.