MILTON, Mass. – The Curry College women's basketball team held off fourth-seeded Roger Williams to pull out a 64-61 victory on Tuesday night in the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship Tournament at the Campus Recreation Center.
Curry (15-11 overall) advances to the semifinals and will face top-seeded Endicott College on Thursday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m.
Two Colonels scored in double figures led by a game-high 32 points from senior captain Emily Irwin (Billerica, Mass.), who also added a team-high 12 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Freshman Amanda Leal (Tyngsboro, Mass.) with 12 points, five boards, one assist, two steals, and two blocks. Freshman Peyton Perine (Fairfax, Va.) pitched in eight points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes while senior captain Molly Plunkett (Quincy, Mass.) added seven points and seven rebounds.
Roger Williams (13-13 overall) finished with three players in double figures. Freshman Karli Opalka (Southbury, Conn.) paced the Hawks with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Sam Leone (Ashland, Mass.) added 14 points and five boards while classmate Gabby Jerahian (Quincy, Mass.) pitched in 12 points, three rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Roger Williams was only able to muster up a combined 12 points from the six remaining players in the box score.
Curry led in the early going but never by more than four points. The Colonels scored the first two of the game on a layup from Plunkett 36 seconds into the contest. A quick 5-0 run on a three from Irwin and two free throws from Perine gave Curry a 7-4 lead with 5:50 to go in the opening quarter. The Colonels were able to hang onto the lead until two good free throws from Leone and back-to-back buckets by Opalka gave Roger Williams a 10-9 advantage. Curry held the Hawks scoreless over the final 2:44 of the first quarter and went on a 7-0 run to hold a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second, Roger Williams went on 7-0 run following an Irwin layup to open the frame to take a 19-18 lead, prompting a Colonels' timeout. Neither team led by more than five points in the stanza as junior Caroline Kilduff (Rockland, Mass.) knotted up the game at 26 with 2:37 to go before the intermission. Leal converted the final two baskets for the visitors in the quarter, including a layup with one second to go to send Curry into the locker room with a 30-27 halftime advantage.
Plunkett, Leal, and Irwin each had seven points in the half to pace the Colonels, who forced eight turnovers and shot 34 percent from the floor. Opalka was the lone player in double figures with 10 at the break while Leone pitched in with seven. Roger Williams shot 37 percent for the half and went 2-for-7 from behind the arc.
The Hawks regrouped during the break and came out strong to start the second half. Roger Williams snagged its first lead of the period on a layup by Opalka to make the score 34-32 with 7:32 remaining. Nearly halfway through the quarter, the game still hung in the balance as Irwin hit a three with 4:25 on the clock to push to give Curry a slim 40-38 lead. Down by one with 1:30 left in the frame, back-to-back baskets by Irwin gave the Colonels a 49-46 advantage after three.
Neither team led by more than three points in the fourth quarter as the game came down to the wire. Jerahian started the final frame with a trey to tie the game at 49 just over 30 seconds in. The game stayed at least tied or a two-point advantage or less until under a minute. With just seven seconds left, a missed free throw by Irwin and a rebound from Opalka prompted a timeout for the Hawks. Roger Williams had no timeouts left in the contest, and the home squad was assessed a technical foul. Leal stepped to the line and made one of the two shots to put Curry up 63-61. Leal sunk another free throw just a second later to ice the 64-61 victory.
The teams each put up 34 points in the second half. The Colonels shot 39 percent from the floor and 3-of-6 from long range. Roger Williams shot 33.3 percent from the floor in the second half and just 3-for-14 from three.
Curry (15-11 overall) advances to the semifinals and will travel to face top-seeded Endicott College on Thursday, February 21 at 7:00 p.m.