NEW LONDON, Conn.-Sixth-seeded Springfield used a 12-0 run over a 5:26 spanning the end of the first and beginning of the second half to steal momentum from home standing and third-seeded Coast Guard en route to a 57-54 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinal match-up on Wednesday night.
Freshman Danielle Racette started the run by knocking down a pair of free throws with 21 seconds to play in the first half before junior Riley Fake canned a three with five seconds to play in the opening stanza to quiet a raucous Coast Guard crowd. During the run, which was capped off by a layup from junior Andrea Moschetta with 17:29 left, Coast Guard was held to 0-for-3 shooting and turned the ball over four times.
Coast Guard, who trailed by as many as eight points, would mount a rally mid-way through the second half, courtesy of a 9-2 run which started when senior Kaitlin Ward hit a jumper at the 15:34 mark and concluded when sophomore Meghan Fornaro netted a free throw with 12:30 to play to cut the deficit to just one at 34-33.
The two clubs would trade points until Fake knocked down the last of her three treys with 3:55 left to give the Pride a 51-48 lead, an advantage they wouldn't relinquish. Springfield would go up by as many as five with 40 seconds left until Sutherland would hit her second three of the game with 30 seconds to go to cut the Springfield lead to just 56-54 and give the Bears a glimmer of hope.
The Bears would get one final shot at the buzzer but Zimmerman's shot fell off the rim after it momentarily looked like it would go in to force overtime.
Coast Guard received double-figure scoring efforts from Zimmerman (13), Ward (11), and Sutherland (10) but it wasn't enough to overcome a slow start in which they shot just 22.6 percent in the first half, including a 2-for-11 effort from beyond the arc. Junior Alexi Howland and Fornaro each added seven points while junior Jamie Waterman chipped in six. Waterman and classmate Dani Knox each pulled down a team-best seven rebounds while Howland led the way with four assists for the Bears.
Junior Jaimie Bickelhaupt registered a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Pride's balanced attack. Fake added nine points while sophomore Emily Gins, Moschetta, and freshman Ava Adamopoulos each chipped in eight for Springfield. Adamopoulos contributed seven rebounds while Moschetta added six.
Springfield (15-11) will move on to play Wheaton at 3:00 pm on Sunday in a NEWMAC semi-final contest, hosted by Smith College.
With the loss Coast Guard wraps up the 2013/14 season with a 19-7 record, a nine win improvement over last year's 10-15 record. The 19 wins for Coast Guard represent the second highest total in Academy history, bettered only by the 2007/08 squad which went 25-5 and won the school's first-ever ECAC New England Championship.