Women's hoops falls to Bridgewater St. at Williams

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Hot first-half shooting helped Bridgewater State race out to a big lead, and the Bears absorbed a late run to defeat the Bates women's basketball team 67-55 in the Williams Holiday Classic on Friday evening, 67-55.

The win pushed the Bears to 4-1, while the Bobcats fell to 2-4.

Julia Rafferty opened Bates' scoring with an early three-pointer to answer Colleen Hanscom’s own bucket from downtown that opened the game’s scoring. But Bridgewater State quickly opened an ever-bulging lead thanks in large part to some tough play in the paint from Michaela Cosby and Megan Boutilette, whose work under the basket earned them a series of crucial offensive putbacks.

After Cosby drained a jumper, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and dished off to Hanscom for another basket, the Bear lead was at 16 with over 11 minutes to play in the half; three minutes later, a Boutilette layup made it 29-11, prompting Bates coach Jim Murphy to use a timeout. Boutilette and Cosby combined to go 10-of-12 from the field for 22 points in the first half.

After riding a comfortable 42-19 lead into the break, Bridgewater State opened a 27-point lead, but the Bobcats slowly but surely crept back into the game, outscoring the Bears 31-12 over a 13-minute span of the second half. Seniors Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) and Taryn O’Connell (Georgetown, Mass.), who finished the game with 20 and 19 points respectively to lead all scorers, caught fire from behind the arc to chip away at the deficit. As Bridgewater State’s offense increasingly played to wind the clock down, the momentum swung more and more in Bates’ favor. Beaulieu drained a three from the corner with 3:43 left, assisted by sophomore Allaina Murphy, to close the gap to 60-52. But Bates turned the ball over on its next two possessions and had to resort to fouling as the clock wound down under two minutes. Bridgewater State hit 7-of-8 foul shots over the last 1:45 to seal the victory.

Rafferty finished with eight points to go with six rebounds and three assists. First-year Chelsea Nason (Boxford, Mass.) collected five steals and shared the team rebounding lead with Rafferty, O'Connell and Murphy. O'Connell was credited with a team-high four assists.

Each team will remain in Williamstown for tomorrow’s slate of tournament games. Bates will take on Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 1pm, while Bridgewater State is set to clash with host Williams at 3pm.