BIDDEFORD, Maine – The No. 4 Endicott women's basketball team fell, 66-55, to host No. 1 University of New England in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Semifinals Thursday night inside Harold Alfond Forum as senior guard Kelsey Cuddy (Madison, Conn.) paced all scorers with 25 points and nine rebounds, three steals, and three blocks in the season-ending loss.
The Nor'easters got on the scoreboard first with an early 2-0 advantage, before Endicott managed to take its only lead of the first half, 5-4, on Cuddy's three-pointer with 7:16 left in the first quarter.
UNE went on 13-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to hold a 17-5 edge at the 3:47 mark of the first quarter and extended that lead to 25-12 with 3:06 remaining for their largest lead of the first half.
Endicott strung together a 7-0 run of their own as the first quarter closed out down, 25-16 and trailed just 25-19 with 9:40 remaining before halftime.
Sophomore guard Gabriella Coppola (Watertown, Mass.) brought the Gulls to within five (27-22) with a three-pointer with 8:39 to play.
The Gulls were down 37-31 at halftime, but Cuddy led all scorers with 16 points in the first twenty minutes of action.
Endicott came out of the break to produce a strong defensive effort, outscoring UNE, 14-9 in the quarter. Endicott took the lead over UNE, 43-42, on Coppola's jumper with 5:34 to play in the third quarter as part of a 10-0 run from being down 42-33 at 8:07 to taking the lead at 5:34.
UNE broke nearly a four-minute scoring drought with a bucket at the 1:39 mark of the third quarter to grab the lead back, 44-43.
Sophomore forward Hannah Shaw (Bar Harbor, Maine) made it 45-44 to give Endicott another lead, but UNE closed out the third quarter clinging to a 46-45 edge.
A 5-0 run from the Nor'easters made it 53-47 until the Gulls got a layup-and-one from Cuddy as Endicott was down 53-50 with 5:12 remaining in the game. UNE made it 58-50 with 4:03 to go on junior center Alicia Brown's (Greenland, N.H.) layup that drew the foul to complete the three-point play.
UNE then grew its lead to 62-52 with 1:11 to play, and H. Shaw nailed a three to bring it to 62-55, but four UNE free throws sealed the deal as the Nor'easters advanced to make their fourth straight CCC title game appearance.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- The game featured two tied scores and six lead changes.
- The Nor'easters shot 50 percent from the field (14-of-28) in the first half, compared to Endicott's 35.5 percent (11-of-31).
- Cuddy nailed four three-pointers (tied for a career-high), and her 25 points were good for her second-most this season, three shy of tying her career-high of 28 points against Curry on Jan. 5, 2016 in Milton, Mass.
- Cuddy has 10 games this season with 20+ points (three consecutive), including all three games against UNE, and 22 games in double figures.
- Cuddy's 1,233 career points ranks seventh in the all-time program scoring history.
- The Gulls placed two student-athletes in double figures, as Coppola tallied 10 points to join Cuddy, while UNE landed three.
- UNE out-rebouded the Gulls, 40-31.
- The Gulls limited the Nor'easters to nine points in the third quarter.
- Endicott losts its fourth consecutive CCC Semifinals appearance.
FOR THE FOES
- Brown paced the Nor'easters' scoring attack with 17 points, seven rebounds, one assists, two blocks, and a game-high five steals.
- UNE placed two more student-athletes in double figures as senior guard Alanna Vose (Cushing, Maine) chipped in 15 points and a team-high eight boards, while senior guard Sadie DiPierro (South Portland, Maine) added 10 points.
- The Nor'easters are on a 19-game win streak.
- The University of New England women's basketball team has remained at 3rd of 81 teams in the Northeast Region, as the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship Committee released its final set of regional rankings on Wednesday (Feb. 24).
- The team also has a national ranking presence with the No. 16 spot in the latest Top 25 D3hoops.com poll and No. 14 in WBCA Coaches Poll announced this week.
- Endicott is 12-24 all-time and 5-15 on the road at UNE dating back prior to the 2002 season.
- The Gulls and Nor'easters met twice in the regular season, as the top-seeded and nationally-ranked Nor'easters took both regular-season meetings versus Endicott—65-57 in Beverly, Mass. on Jan. 19 and 62-54 in Biddeford, Maine, on Feb. 10.
- UNE has won the last nine of 11 meetings between the two teams.
- Endicott and UNE squared off again the CCC Semifinals for the fourth time in the past seven years, as the Gulls own a 2-2 record in recent history dating back to 2009. Endicott won back-to-back meetings in the CCC Semifinals; 78-67 on Feb. 26, 2009 at home and 53-49 on the road on Feb. 23, 2012, before falling 69-48 in Biddeford, Maine on Feb. 21, 2013 and 66-55 tonight.
No. 4 Endicott (16-11) sees its season come to an end, while the No. 1 University of New England (24-3) will play No. 2 Western New England in the CCC Championship on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. as they go for their fourth straight CCC title.
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 66 vs. #4 Endicott 55
#2 Western New England 73 vs. #3 Roger Williams 63
Championship Game • Saturday, February 27
#1 University of New England vs. #2 Western New England, 1:00 p.m.