NEW LONDON, Conn.-Junior Brittney Zimmerman scored a team-high 16 points as the Coast Guard women's basketball team defeated Babson 71-65 in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game on Sunday afternoon. The Bears have now knocked off four-time defending regular season and five-time defending tournament champion Babson for the second time in two months.
The Bears got out to a 21-point advantage by half-time and held on for a six-point victory to complete the regular season sweep of the Beavers. The Bears could do no wrong in the first half, hitting 51.7 percent from the field, including a 5-of-8 effort from beyond the arc to head into halftime with a 43-22 lead.
The Bears would stretch their lead to as many as 26 (48-22) with 18:01 to play in the game on a three-pointer by Zimmerman. Over the next 17:44 Babson out-scored Coast Guard 45-19 to pull to within two points with just 17 seconds remaining. __ Giovanna Pickering, after being held to just six points in the first half, scored 17 by herself during the second half, nearly matching the entire Coast Guard offensive output to that point.
After seeing their once-comfortable lead cut to just two points, the Bears got two big free throws from junior Alexi Howland with 11 seconds to play to extend the Coast Guard lead to two options. Pickering would then miss a three-point attempt as Zimmerman came away with the board and was immediately fouled. She would step to the line and hit a pair of free throws with two seconds to go to ice the victory for Coast Guard.
Coast Guard jumped out to an early 20-4 lead in the first 6:48, following a 14-0 run over a span of 4:38. During the critical stretch the Bears got contributions from five different players, led by Waterman who hit for four points.
The Bears defense did an admirable job, limiting Babson sophomore Linnett Graber to just 1-of-6 shooting. Graber, the Beavers' leading scorer entering the game, was held to just nine points and six rebounds while being forced into six turnovers.
Coast Guard out-rebounded Babson 34-31 and forced Babson into 25 turnovers on the afternoon, which the Bears would turn into 22 points.
With the victory, Coast Guard has now beaten Babson twice in a single season for the first time in program history.
Senior Kaitlin Ward (13), sophomore Torie Sutherland (13), and sophomore Meghan Fornaro (10) all joined Zimmerman in double figures on the day while Sutherland led the way with a game-high eight rebounds. Zimmerman added a game-best five assists for the seventh time in Coast Guard's last eight games. Waterman (8 points) recorded a team-best four assists along with six rebounds. Junior Dani Knox pulled down seven rebounds to go along with five points.
Coast Guard returns to action on Wednesday, January 22nd when they travel to take on NEWMAC-leading Wellesley at 7:00 pm.
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH ALEX IVANSCHECK