WATERVILLE, Maine -- Ainsley Burns scored a game-high 26 points and the Colby College Mules held off a third-quarter rally from the Bates women's basketball team on Tuesday, defeating the Bobcats by a final score of 62-52 in non-conference action.
The Bobcats (3-2) found themselves down by 14 points to the Mules (4-2) at halftime before outscoring Colby 21-11 in the third quarter. First-year Meghan Graff (South Portland, Maine) paced Bates with 17 points on the night and first-year Amaari Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored nine of her 15 points in the third to lead the Bobcat rally.
With Bates down 36-22, first-year Ariana Dalia (Brick, N.J.) made back-to-back layups to open the third quarter. Burns put the Mules up 12 later in the period with a jumper but Williams answered with a jumper and two free throws to trim the Colby lead to 40-32 with 5:09 remaining.
The Mules held a nine-point lead with 3:56 left in the quarter before Williams hit two more free throws and first-year Mia Roy (Bedford, N.H.) made a layup to cut the deficit to five. A Williams free throw with 1:48 to go in the third made the score 42-38. Graff made a layup with 1:14 left but Burns answered with a three on the other end. Then Roy hit a three of her own with 40 seconds remaining, putting Bates within two points of Colby.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, that is as close as they got on the night. Burns made a layup with two seconds left in the quarter to put the Mules up four and Colby opened the fourth quarter with four unanswered points to go up eight with 6:33 to go in the game. Graff drilled a three on the Bobcats' next possession but once again Burns had the answer, converting a layup with 5:09 remaining.
With 3:08 to go, Graff sank a pair of free throws to make the score 55-48. The Mules' Paige Russell hit a three on the other end to extend the Colby lead to 10.
Graff scored all nine of the Bobcats' points in the fourth quarter. She went 3-7 from the field in the final period while her teammates went 0-8. The Mules struggled from the field as well in the fourth, making 3-11 shots. But they secured the win by making all eight of their free throws down the stretch.
Overall, the Mules shot 39% from the floor on the night to the Bobcats' 31.6%. Burns rarely missed for Colby, shooting 11-19 from the floor. Colby's Keagan Dunbar added nine points and six rebounds while Emily Davis scored eight points and pulled down a game-high 11 boards. Sophomore Taylor McVeigh (Hanson, Mass.) tallied a team-high eight rebounds for Bates. Colby's Sarah Hancock dished out a game-high six assists.
The Bates bench scored 37 of the Bobcats' 52 points. Colby never trailed on the evening, going up by as many as 16 points with 1:44 left in the second quarter. While the rebounding battle was fairly even, the Mules tallied 16 second-chance points to the Bobcats' six.
Bates returns to action Saturday when the Bobcats visit No. 1 nationally ranked Bowdoin for a 3pm tip.