Women’s Hoops Advances to NECC Semifinals with Narrow Win Over Dean

QUINCY, Mass.- The fourth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College women's basketball team defeated fifth-seeded Dean 70-66 in the NECC quarterfinals Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center.

With the victory, the Lions climb to 19-7 on the year and advance to the NECC semifinals Thursday, February 21. The Bulldogs finish the season with a 12-14 overall record with the setback.

Courtney Barba (Pismo Beach, Calif.) finished with career-high 24 points and added seven boards to lead the squad. Syndi Ovatt (Fruit City, Utah) poured in 11 points, grabbed five rebounds, and racked up five blocks off the bench.  Tia Torio (Manteca, Calif.) registered nine points and eight boards on the night while Alyssa Cosio (Santa Barbara, Calif.) also netted nine points.

Dean built up an eight-point advantage 4:19 into the game, 10-2, using a 6-0 run of three consecutive layups.

The home team battled back to knot the score at 16-16 with 1:58 left to play in the first quarter on a layup by Shante Slender (Kayenta, Ariz.).

Eastern Nazarene capped off the opening frame with a pair of free throws by Oviatt to own a narrow 18-17 edge heading into the second.

After the Bulldogs seized a one-point lead early in the second frame, the Lions clawed back with a layup by Shannon Chau (San Francisco, Calif.) followed by a trey from Oviatt to snag a 25-21 advantage with 6:16 to go in the quarter.

The visitors pulled even at 25-25 with 3:34 remaining in the first half as Makayla Rudder converted the first of two free throw attempts.

A corner three-ball that glanced off the glass by Chau and a free throw by Burnham stretched the hosts' lead to 34-29 heading into the halftime intermission.

Eastern Nazarene posted a field-goal percentage of 43.5% in the first half to go with 4-for-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Dean shot 33.3% from the floor and just 20% from three-point range in the opening two quarters.

The Lions stretched the margin to nine with 1:55 left to play in the third quarter on a bucket by Cosio, 48-39.

The Bulldogs closed out the third period on a 9-0 run as the two teams were deadlocked at 48-48 at the start of the fourth quarter.

The home side reclaimed a four-point lead with 6:40 remaining in regulation as Barba splashed a three-pointer and Oviatt tossed in a put-back layup, 56-52.

The visitors evened the game at 56-56 on a layup by Rudder with 5:54 left to play.

Eastern Nazarene chalked up its final 14 points from the charity stripe, draining 14-of-16 attempts in the final 5:25 while limiting Dean to 10 points en route to clinching the win and advancing in the NECC Tournament.

The Lions shot 38.8% from the floor and 33.3% from behind the arc on the night. The Bulldogs concluded the contest with a field-goal percentage of 34.2% while connecting on 2-of-9 from three-point land.

Rudder paced Dean with 19 points while Jamaya Cleveland netted 13 points and Amanda Miressi chipped in with 11.

Eastern Nazarene advances to the NECC semifinals to face top-seeded New England College on the road February 21.