WORCESTER, Mass. – Led by a game-high 36 points by junior Nakira Examond (New Bedford, Mass.), the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth executed down the stretch to stave off Worcester State's fourth quarter comeback to win the non-conference clash by a score of 82-75 at Lancer Gymnasium on Monday night.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 82, Worcester State 75
Records: UMass Dartmouth (18-3) | Worcester State (12-10)
How it Happened
In addition to nearly surpassing her career-high of 41 points – which came on Dec. 9 vs. Western Connecticut (95-65 win) – Examond snatched 11 offensive rebounds to punch her tenth double-double of the year. Corsair senior Alicia Kutil (Franklin, Mass.) also helped nudge the offense forward with an 18-point contribution, while classmate Chelsea Houlihan (Wolcott, Conn.) dropped five dimes.
Worcester State junior Kaitlyn Berkel (Waterford, Conn.) led the way on her home floor, clinching a double-double of her own behind 17 points and 10 boards. Classmate Emily Carens (Northboro, Mass.) served as a tremendous jump off the bench for the Lancers, going for 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting.
The visitors jumped out to an early 12-2 advantage behind five layups from the starting frontcourt. Worcester State shook off its rusty start halfway through the first quarter, as all of its players the floor chipped in to make it a six-point difference at the conclusion of the stanza.
Examond ushered in the following quarter with a personal 8-0 run, including a conventional three-point play after finishing through contact by junior Britt Herring (West Brookfield, Mass.). The consecutive string of buckets stretched the Corsair lead to 27-15, but back-to-back threes by Lancer senior Brianna Hackett (Hollis, N.H.) and three-straight Carens layups put the hosts within single digits heading into the break.
After a sizzling second quarter, Examond outdid herself with a 17-point performance in the third, helping the visitors post a 29-spot within the frame. The Corsairs shot 70% (14-of-20) from the field in the ten minutes after the intermission, with the junior providing the foundation of 8-of-9 shooting, to balloon the advantage to as much as 31 points. However, Herring and freshman Sam Miglione (Lancaster, Mass.) combined to nearly match the opponent's performance, though as the pairing linked for 15 points (7-of-8) of their own.
Berkel was on a mission to propel her squad over the visitors by also going for a 17-point outing in the final quarter, slimming the margin to just five with under a minute remaining. However, time was not in favor of the hosts, as key free throws made by junior Jess Korzec (West Brookfield, Mass.), seniors Leah Douty (Framingham, Mass.) and Houlihan accounted for the separation that the Corsairs needed for the win.
Inside the Numbers
- Examond's 11 offensive rebounds are her most since Jan. 11, 2017, when she pulled down 16 boards under her own basket at Eastern Connecticut.
- The Corsairs knocked down more than half their shots for the fifth time this year.
- Korzec has scored at least nine points off the bench in each of the last four contests.
- UMass Dartmouth owned the offensive end of the paint, going for 64 points from down-low to Worcester State's 36.
UMass Dartmouth gets back into its last stretch of Little East Conference play beginning on Wednesday night, travelling to UMass Boston for a 5:30 p.m. start.