MILTON, Mass. – Behind a team-high 14 points from Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.), the Curry College women's basketball team posted a 48-39 victory over Eastern Nazarene College on Saturday afternoon in the season finale for both squads at the Katz Gymnasium. Prior to the contest, the program honored its three seniors: Stephanie Rizzo (East Boston, Mass.), Nicole Rice (Woburn, Mass.) and manager Janine Medina.
The Lions outscored the Colonels 11-8 in the fourth quarter but the lead was large enough to hold off the visitors as the Colonels snapped a four-game losing streak, finishing the regular season with a 12-13 overall record and 8-10 in league play. Irwin shot 4-for-14 from the floor and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds while Rice chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards. Molly Plunkett was the final Curry student-athlete in double figures with 10 points. The junior added three points and a steal.
Shelby Holmes paced Eastern Nazarene (12-13 overall, 6-12 CCC) with a game-high 17 points and posted 10 boards, including two on the offensive glass. Kayla Torio (Manteca, Calif.) added nine points and four rebounds to round out the high scorers for the Lions.
The teams were evenly matched over the first half of the first quarter as they combined to score 15 points over the first 4:27. Irwin knocked down a three to put the Colonels up by two (10-8) and would limit the Lions to three points for the rest of the stanza. Five straight points from Plunkett gave Curry the five-point advantage after one quarter, 16-11.
The Colonels continued the strong play in the second, outscoring Eastern Nazarene 10-4 to extend the gap. Curry was able to stretch the lead as many as 11 points as the Colonels entered the halftime intermission with a 26-15 lead.
The squads were separated by one total point in third quarter scoring as the Curry was able to stretch the lead to 12. The Colonels led 40-28 heading into the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw the Lions cut the deficit to just one, thanks to an 8-0 run to make the score 40-39 with just 5:10 left. Back-to-back threes from Irwin and Rice on the next two Colonel possessions extended the lead to seven, 46-39 and Curry never looked back as they came away with the nine-point victory, 48-39.
Curry has qualified for the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship Tournament as the number six seed and will travel to third-seeded Endicott on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Nazarene will be the eighth seed and will head to top-seeded University of New England on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.