QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College women's basketball team wrapped up the regular season with a 70-35 win over Elms Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center to post the program's first 20-win season since the legendary 1999-2000 campaign.
The Lions climb to 20-3 overall with the win and claim the New England Collegiate Conference regular-season title outright with a 13-1 league record. The Blazers sink to 9-16 on the year and 5-9 in conference play with the loss.
Prior to the start of the contest, the Eastern Nazarene women's basketball team honored its senior class: Courtney Barba (Pismo Beach, Calif.), Jenn Burnham (West Valley City, Utah), Shannon Chau (San Francisco, Calif.), Kyra Fleharty (Lewistown, Mont.), and Shante Slender (Kayenta, Ariz.).
Fleharty poured in a game-high 16 points to go with five rebounds, five assists, two blocks, and a pair of steals. Janeth Cruz (Reseda, Calif.) notched 12 points and six boards off the bench. Stevie Orton (Gilford, N.H.) netted 12 points and hauled in five rebounds.
The hosts opened the game with nine-straight points to establish a 9-0 lead before extending the margin to 19-3 with 2:25 to go in the first quarter on a pair of free throws by Nahatabaa Nacona (Chinle, Ariz.).
Eastern Nazarene sported a 24-6 advantage through 10 minutes of action.
The visitors trimmed the deficit to 14 points with 3:14 remaining in the second frame as Tatyana Correia tossed in a layup, 29-15.
The Lions capped off the second period with an 8-0 spree to boast a 39-17 lead at the break.
Eastern Nazarene posted a field-goal percentage of 42.4% in the first half while limiting Elms to just 20% shooting from the floor.
The home side stretched the gap to 28 points on a three-pointer by Fleharty with 4:49 left to play in the third quarter, 48-20.
The Lions held a narrow 13-10 edge in third-quarter scoring to carry a 52-27 advantage into the final frame.
Eastern Nazarene chalked up 18 points and allowed eight in the fourth quarter to secure its fourth-consecutive victory.
The Lions shot 42.6% from the floor and 40% from beyond the arc on the afternoon. The Blazers finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 18.6% while connecting on 3-of-13 from the perimeter.
Lashaunte White, Regina LeBlanc, and Correia all tallied six points to lead Elms.
By virtue of clinching the No. 1 seed in the New England Collegiate Conference Tournament, Eastern Nazarene will host a semifinal playoff game February 27.