BEVERLY, Mass. – The Endicott women's basketball team held off a late push from the visiting Curry Colonels to secure a 68-66 victory in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Quarterfinal action Tuesday night inside MacDonald Gymnasium.
The Colonels bounced out in front to open the game and it wasn't until the 5:49 mark of the first quarter that Endicott managed a lead in the game, 12-11, as sophomore guard Gabriella Coppola (Watertown, Mass.) buried a three-pointer.
Curry went ahead, 16-15, at the end of the first quarter, and led by as much as four (23-19) with 6:38 to play in the opening half, but Endicott came back to take a 38-31 lead into the locker room at the break Coppola paced all scorers with 10 points.
The Gulls never trailed in the second half, thanks in part to strong efforts of 23 points and 22 points in the second and third quarters, respectively.
Endicott went up by as much as 16 points on sophomore forward Sam Charette's (Wenham, Mass.) jumper with 33 seconds remaining in the third quarter for its largest lead of the game and went into the fourth quarter with a 60-44 advantage.
The Colonels used a 9-0 run over the first four minutes to start the fourth quarter and scratched to within three on two occasions, trailing 64-61 with 2:10 remaining and again 66-63 with 13 seconds left.
Four clutch free throws by senior guard Kelsey Cuddy (Madison, Conn.) in the waning seconds secured the victory for Endicott as the Gulls advanced to the CCC Semifinals for the fifth season in a row.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Cuddy's 20 points tonight marked the ninth time she has scored 20 or more points in a game this season, including in all three games against Curry this season.
- Cuddy tied her single-game career-high with five blocks - a feat she has done three times in her career.
- Sophomore forward Hannah Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine) pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
- The Gulls placed three in double figures as sophomore guard Hannah Kiernan (Wenham, Mass.) added 10 points to join Cuddy (20) and Coppola (13).
- Coppola had six rebounds, six assists and three steals and tied her career-high with three three-pointers.
- The game featured two ties and five lead changes.
FOR THE FOES
- Freshman guard Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.), the CCC Rookie of the Year, scored a team-leading 18 points and paced the team with four steals.
- Senior center/forward Shannon Griffith (West Hartford, Conn.) chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard/forward Kerry White (Windham, N.H.) grabbed a team-leading nine rebounds and added 12 points.
- Graduate student guard Christina Deiorio (Stoughton, Mass.) also landed in double figures with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
- The Colonels outscored the Gulls 22-8 in the fourth quarter.
- Sophomore center Nicole Rice (Woburn, Mass.) had a game-high six blocks.
- Endicott is 23-6 all-time and 13-1 at home versus Curry dating back prior to the 2002 season.
- The Gulls and Colonels met twice in the regular season, as Endicott swept the season series by scores of 77-62 and 65-42 earlier this season.
- Endicott and Curry squared off again in postseason play, as the Colonels defeated the Gulls, 66-49, in Milton, Mass. on Feb. 26, 2015 in the CCC Semifinals last season.
No. 4 Endicott (16-10, 13-5 CCC) will face the No. 1 University of New England in the CCC Semifinals on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in Biddeford, Maine. Curry (12-14, 9-9 CCC) sees its season come to an end.
2016 CCC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
Quarterfinals • Tuesday, February 23
#1 University of New England 101, #8 Nichols 35
#2 Western New England 60, #7 Salve Regina 51
#3 Roger Williams 71, #6 Eastern Nazarene 57
#4 Endicott 68, #5 Curry 66
Semifinals • Thursday, February 25
#1 University of New England vs. #4 Endicott, 7:00 p.m. (at higher seed)
#2 Western New England vs. #3 Roger Williams (at higher seed)
Championship Game • Saturday, February 27
Semifinal Winners, TBA (at higher seed)