February 10, 2013



Providence, R.I.-Junior guard Erin McNamara (West Newbury, MA) converted a wild layup attempt to beat the buzzer in overtime as No. 14 Southern Maine held off Rhode Island College, 56-54, on Sunday afternoon at The Murray Center in Little East Conference womenís basketball action.


Although Southern Maine (22-1, 11-1 LEC) held a substantial lead through much of the first half, Rhode Island College (13-10, 6-6 LEC) clawed its way back into the game early in the second half behind a key three-pointer from senior guard Cassie Novicky (New Milford, CT) that cut the deficit to six with 15:37 left to play. With the momentum shifting in RICís direction, senior forward Melanie Cline (Glocester, RI) drained a three minutes later to give the hosts a 38-36 lead with 10:59 remaining in the game.


The Huskies quickly countered with an 11-4 run over the next five minutes to jump ahead by seven, capped off by a jumper from sophomore guard Taylor Flood (Sanford, ME) with 5:21 on the clock. After the Anchorwomen responded with three straight baskets over the next few minutes to pull within a single point, sophomore forward Rebecca Knight (Alfred, ME) sank one of two free throws on the other end with 2:11 remaining to give USM a two-point lead.



 Seniors Melanie Cline, Courtney Burns, Lexi Vega, Ashley O'Dell and
Cassie Novicky along with their families on Senior Day prior to the game.


Rhode Island College quickly answered back at the two-minute mark thanks to a jumper from junior guard Stephanie Prusko (Lincoln, RI) that tied the game at 50. The Anchorwomen then pulled ahead by two with 1:23 left to play after senior forward Courtney Burns (Rockland, MA) connected on a layup to make it, 52-50.


However, following a pair of missed baskets on each end of the floor, the Huskies managed to tie the game at 52 and force overtime after senior forward Haley Jordan (Falmouth, ME) drove to the hoop and dished to senior forward Jordan Grant (Concord, NH) for the open jumper with just three seconds left.


After Southern Maine recorded a quick basket in the opening seconds of overtime, both offenses fell silent until freshman forward Vandell Andrade (Providence, RI) tied the game at 54 with a layup with 2:25 on the clock. However, once again, neither team could get on the scoreboard over the next two minutes as both defenses picked up the intensity, which resulted in a pair of missed shots for the Anchorwomen and a pair of turnovers from the Huskies.


Finally, with her team holding for the last shot and the clock trickling down under 10 seconds, McNamara drove to the basket and threw up an off-balance layup over two RIC defenders that bounced off the backboard and in for the game-winning bucket as time expired.


Burns paced Rhode Island College with a team-high 14 points to go along with eight rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists, while Andrade finished with 12 points, a game-high 16 rebounds and two blocks for another double-double. Prusko added 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists for RIC, while junior guard Cara Paladino (Arlington, MA) chipped in with six points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.


Grant led the Huskies with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Knight added 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Nicole Garland (Portland, ME) recorded eight points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists, while McNamara finished with six points and five steals.


RIC shot 31 percent (23-for-74) from the floor, 23 percent (3-for-13) from downtown and 56 percent (5-for-9) from the free throw line. USM shot 37 percent (22-for-59) from the field, 18 percent (3-for-17) from beyond the arc and 90 percent (9-for-10) from the charity stripe.


The Anchorwomen outrebounded the Huskies, 50-40, and corralled 23 offensive rebounds in the loss.


In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will continue Little East Conference play at Western Connecticut on Wednesday, Feb. 13 (5:30 p.m.).