Beaulieu leads women's basketball past Bowdoin, 63-57

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates women's basketball team scored its second straight thriller of a win on Thursday night, and this time it was against rival Bowdoin.

Senior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) scored eight points over the final four minutes, including a left-handed jump shot from the elbow with the shot clock running out, to finish off a 22-point, 10-rebound night as the Bobcats outlasted Bowdoin 63-57 in the rivals' annual non-conference matchup in Alumni Gym.

Senior Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) was Bates' only other double-digit scorer, with 11 points, including three 3-pointers. She also grabbed eight rebounds. Senior Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine) stepped up with eight points and nine rebounds, and junior Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.), Bates' leading scorer last season, made her 2012-13 season debut with eight points and three rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench.

Kirsten Prue led Bowdoin (3-4) with 19 points to go with four assists. The native of neighboring Auburn, Maine, made 7-of-13 shots from the floor, including 5-of-9 from three-point land. Megan Phelps added 14 points and six rebounds, and Kaitlin Donahoe chimed in with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Much like Bates' 59-58 win over the University of New England two nights ago, the Bobcats maintained a small lead for the vast majority of the game, but neither team ever led by more than six points.

Bowdoin had only one brief lead in the first half, as Shannon Brady fed Megan Phelps underneath for a layup to make it 9-8. Bates sophomore Allaina Murphy (Poland Spring, Maine) returned the lead to Bates with a reverse layup assisted by O'Connell, and first-year Chelsea Nason (Boxford, Mass.) knocked down Bates' first 3-pointer on a feed by Rafferty for a 13-9 lead.

Kelly stepped on the floor for the first time this season with 12:26 to play in the first half, and provided an added spark for the Bobcats, quickly making two trips to the free-throw line and making 3-of-4. After O'Connell drove baseline for a layup and followed it with one of her three threes of the night, Kelly found a lane to drive through for an uncontested layup that gave Bates a 23-17 lead with 6:20 to go in the first half. Phelps cut it to two with a layup, set up nicely by Donahoe, and a foul shot to follow four Bowdoin offensive rebounds on a single possession to cut Bates' lead to 26-24. But Hawkins finished the half off strong for Bates, following an offensive rebound of her own with a layup set up by Rafferty, then making two free throws with 17 seconds left in the period, for a 30-24 Bates lead at the break.

Phelps had eight points in the first half for Bowdoin, on 3-of-10 shooting. Beaulieu had seven points and six boards in the half for Bates, and Hawkins had six points and six rebounds.

Prue started out the second half on fire, starting out with a putback off the offensive glass, then hitting a deep three from the wing to quickly cut Bates' lead to 30-29. Nason found Hawkins alone on the weak side for a layup, then made two foul shots for the Bobcats, but Prue drove for a layup and then sank another 3-pointer to tie the game at 34-34 with 15:17 left.

Beaulieu began taking the game's reins away from Prue, drawing a foul, making both free throws and then drilling a three on Bates' next trip down, after Prue missed a three, regaining a five-point advantage for the Bobcats. After a Bowdoin timeout at 14:25, Donahoe converted a three-point play, before Beaulieu fought to create and make a jumper for Bates. Bowdoin cut the lead to one when Phelps kicked it out to Sara Binkhorst for a three, and Donahoe gave Bowdoin its first lead since 9-8 with a three that made it 43-41 Bowdoin.

Bowdoin got two-point buckets from Phelps and Anna Prohl, but Bates turned to the three-ball to regain the lead for good. O'Connell made one to cut it to 47-46, and Rafferty took advantage of inattentive defense to hit a wide-open three in transition for a 49-47 Bates lead with 6:06 to go. O'Connell drained one more trifecta at the 4:46 mark for a 52-47 lead.

Prue fed Phelps for a layup, then answered one of Beaulieu's trademark 10-foot flip shots with another three, cutting Bates' lead to 54-52 with 3:26 to go. Bates' next possession featured a three-point attempt by O'Connell that got wedged stuck between the rim and the backboard. Bates got the ball back with 30 seconds on the shot clock, and the Bobcats used nearly all of those 30 seconds before Beaulieu hit the shot of the season, her left-handed flip from about 15 feet away.

Beaulieu made all eight of her foul shots as Bates shot 16-of-18 at the free-throw line, while Bowdoin made 4-of-8 foul shots. Bates outrebounded Bowdoin 48-29, helping to offset the Bobcats' 21 team turnovers.

Bates plays host to Colby in another non-conference matchup Saturday at 2pm.