Women's basketball wins defensive battle with Wesleyan, 59-53

Bernadette Connors scored 10 points, grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists in Bates' 59-53 win. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Nina Davenport scored a game-high 19 points, Bernadette Connors delivered an outstanding all-around performance, and the Bates women's basketball team defeated Wesleyan University 59-53 Saturday afternoon at Alumni Gym. 

Bates (6-11, 2-4) hit 7-22 threes while holding the Cardinals (7-10, 1-5) to 1-17 shooting from deep. 

Davenport '18 (Freeport, Maine) hit three triples on the afternoon and pulled down seven rebounds. She also led the way with three steals on the defensive end.

Meanwhile Connors '17 (Windham, N.H.) scored 10 points and pulled down a game-high nine boards. She also dished out a team-high four assists and picked up two steals. She hit six of nine free throws down the stretch, including four near the end to ice the game. 

Bates' offense immediately set the tone around the three ball as Davenport and Chelsea Nason '16 (Boxford, Mass.) both hit triples to get them going in the first quarter. They took their first lead of the game at 9-7 on a fast break Davenport layup. 

After extending their lead to 11-7, Bates went on a scoring drought and the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run to take a 13-11 lead.

Emily Freedland '18 (Marblehead, Mass.) broke the scoring slump with a three and Bates led 14-13 at the conclusion of the first quarter. 

After trading buckets to start the second quarter, Freedland hit a jumper to extend the Bates lead to 18-15. The teams traded baskets again until Davenport hit a jumper to put Bates up 22-17 with 6:40 to go in the half.

A quick Wesleyan 4-0 run cut the Bates lead to one. Lyse Henshaw '18 (Brunswick, Maine) responded with a hard drive to the hoop, drawing the foul. She knocked down both free throws and Bates led 24-21 with 5:40 to go in the half. 

The game turned into a defensive struggle as Bates called time with 3:54 remaining, up 24-23. 

Out of the timeout Henshaw stole the ball and passed ahead to Davenport for the easy bucket. 

Madeline Foote '19 (Duxbury, Mass.) provided a spark off the bench with a late three and Davenport knocked down another three of her own to extend the lead to 33-27.

Up by six at the break, Bates surrendered a couple of baskets to start the third quarter before Henshaw hit a three from the corner to put them up 36-31.

After a Wesleyan bucket, a beautiful feed from Davenport to Nason resulted in an easy layup. A couple of Nason free throws gave the Bobcats a 40-33 lead with 4:52 remaining in the quarter.

But the Cardinals went on a 6-2 run to cut the Bates lead to three with 1:30 remaining. 

A Bates turnover resulted in a fast break bucket for the Cardinals and the lead fell to one. Another Wesleyan basket put the Cardinals up 43-42 at the conclusion of the third quarter. They ended the quarter on a 10-2 run.

Nason opened the scoring with a driving layup to put Bates up one at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But the Cardinals immediately responded with a bucket of their own to re-take the lead.

Erika Lamere '19 (Weston, Mass.) got herself to the line and knocked down a pair of free throws. Bates led 46-45 with 8:50 to go.

Trailing 47-46, Allie Coppola '17 (Tarrytown, N.Y.) scored on a great dish from Connors to put Bates up 48-47 with 5:15 remaining in the game.

They didn't trail again in the contest.

Connors followed with a bucket of her own and the Bobcats led by three with 4:29 left in the contest.

A huge Davenport three from the top of the key put Bates up 53-47 and forced Wesleyan to call time with the game clock under four minutes.

Chynna Bailey scored out of the timeout for Wesleyan and drew a foul. But she missed the free throw and Bates led 53-49.

Davenport got fouled on the other end and made both free throws. 

Up 55-49, Bates got a couple of key offensive rebounds to milk the clock but eventually turned it over. Kaylie Williams got to the line and made both free throws to cut the Bates lead to 55-51 with 1:55 on the game clock. 

Bates missed a three but a held ball on the other end gave them the ball up four with 56 seconds left. 

Connors knocked down one of two free throws to put the Bobcats up 56-51. The Cardinals called time with 36.1 seconds remaining.

Connors got the rebound off a missed Wesleyan three and drew a foul. She hit a pair of free throws to extend the Bobcats' lead to seven.

The Bobcats hung on after that to get their second NESCAC win of the season. 

Maddie Bledsoe led the Cardinals with 17 points on 7-11 shooting. Williams scored 15 points of her own along with a team-high eight rebounds. Danielle Gervacio dished out a game-high five assists but was 0-7 from the floor and 0-5 from three. Wesleyan's only made three on the afternoon came from Maeve Vitale with 7:58 left in the first quarter.

The Bobcats take on Tufts this upcoming Saturday, January 30 at Alumni Gym. Tip is set for 3:00 p.m.