AMHERST, Mass. – Senior Rachel McCarron (Groton, Mass.) and junior Alicia Kutil (Franklin, Mass.) combined for 35 points to power the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a 67-57 victory over SUNY New Paltz in the Sectional Semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship tournament this evening inside LeFrak Gymnasium.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 67, SUNY New Paltz 57
Records: UMass Dartmouth (25-5); SUNY New Paltz (20-9)
How It Happened:
UMass Dartmouth featured a balanced attack as four of its starting five starters scored at least eight points. Kutil nearly posted a double-double with a game-high 17 points and nine rebounds, while McCarron reached double figures in scoring for the third consecutive contest with 15 points. Sophomore Nakira Examond (New Bedford, Mass.) battled foul trouble throughout the contest, but finished with nine points, including 5-for-7 from the foul line, and six boards in 16 minutes of action. Junior Leah Douty (Framingham, Mass.) chipped in with eight points and sophomore Danyel Gonzalez (Providence, R.I.) registered seven points off the bench.
Sophomore Lindsay Bettke (Pelham, N.Y.) paced three SUNY New Paltz players in double digits with 15 points, while senior Kit Small (Slingerlands, N.Y.) and freshman Paige Niemeyer (North Chapman, N.Y.) each scored 10 points. Senior Courtney Irby (Farmingdale, N.Y.) pulled in a team-high seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end, and classmate Morgan Roessler (Massapequa, N.Y.) produced six boards. The Hawks struggled from the floor, shooting 31.3 percent (23-for-74) from the floor and 27.3 percent (6-for-22) from long range.
UMass Dartmouth shot 70-percent—second highest field goal percentage in a stanza—in the opening quarter to overcome an early 5-0 deficit. McCarron drained a three-pointer from the top of the arc and Douty followed with a triple of her own to spark a 17-2 surge, capped by a traditional three-point from Kutil. The Hawks halted the run with a trifecta of their own, but UMass Dartmouth converted three of four from the line to end the frame with a 20-10 advantage.
New Paltz turned up its defensive pressure in the second quarter, holding the Corsairs to just five field goals and nine turnovers. The Hawks found their offensive rhythm as Small scored five consecutive points to key a 12-0 run and forge a 24-all tie. Kutil stemmed the tide with a lay-up, but the visitors responded with a jumper. Danyel Gonzalez drained a triple from the left wing to push the advantage back to five, a lead UMass Dartmouth would carry into the locker room at 33-28.
The Corsairs seized the early momentum at the beginning of the third quarter as the hosts stretched their lead to seven on a McCarron lay-up. Leading by five midway through the frame, Examond, the 2017 Little East Conference Player of the Year, picked up her fourth foul and was forced to the bench. New Paltz capitalized on the momentum with a 6-0 run to whittle the deficit to one (40-39) and force an UMass Dartmouth timeout. Unfazed, the Corsairs closed out the quarter on a 6-2 run, capped by two free throws by Kutil, to take a 46-41 advantage into the final frame.
Less than three minutes into the fourth, UMass Dartmouth ballooned its lead to a game-high 14 points on two straight jumpers by Kutil. Bettke knocked down a pair of triples to trim the deficit to six (54-49) midway through the quarter. However, the Corsairs responded with back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to nine (58-49). UMass Dartmouth was able to keep New Paltz at an arm's length the rest of the way, salting away the clock by making nine of 10 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
Inside The Numbers:
- Tonight's contest marks the first meeting in women's basketball between UMass Dartmouth and SUNY New Paltz. The Corsairs snapped the Hawks six-game winning streak.
- The Corsairs established a new single-season record for victories (25), putting an additional five wins between the previous record holders (20, 2013).
- UMass Dartmouth won the battle on the boards, 41-37, despite giving up 23 offensive rebounds.
- The Corsairs shot 48.9 percent (23-for-47) from the floor, 33.3 from behind the 3-point arc, and 81.8 percent (18-for-22) from the foul line. UMass Dartmouth boasts a 19-0 mark when shooting 40-percent or higher from the field.
- UMass Dartmouth is 21-0 when leading at the end of the 3rd quarter.
- The Corsairs committed 16 of their 24 turnovers in the first half. However, UMass Dartmouth is 12-2 when recording at least 20 turnovers in a contest.
- In the NCAA tournament, UMass Dartmouth has demonstrated a knack for getting to the foul line. The Corsairs have earned at least 16 attempts from the charity stripe in all three games. UMass Dartmouth converted 18 attempts and shot over 80-percent against Montclair State and SUNY New Paltz.
- The Corsairs sport a 7-2 record against automatic qualifiers in the NCAA Division III tournament, registering victories over Babson College (NEWMAC), Keene State College (LEC), LaRoche College (AMCC), Montclair State (NJAC), Regis (NECC), SUNY New Paltz (SUNYAC), and Westfield State (MASCAC). UMass Dartmouth lost the season series to Keene State, 2-1.
UMass Dartmouth advances to the 2017 NCAA Division III Sectional Finals and will face No. 1 Amherst College at 6pm on Saturday, March 11 inside LeFrak Gymnasium.