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No. 19 Colonials hold off women's basketball team

Allie Beaulieu '13 paced the Bobcats with 16 points and eight rebounds.

BABSON PARK, Mass. -- In the second semifinal game of the 2010 Babson Invitational, No. 19 nationally ranked Western Connecticut State University held off a late charge by the Bates College women's basketball team to defeat the Bobcats in their season opener, 79-69, on Saturday in the second semifinal game of the 2010 Babson Invitational.

Bates will face Regis College in the tournament consolation game on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Babson.

Bates sophomore Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) finished with a team high 16 points and eight rebounds. Junior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) scored 13 points with four steals and senior Jessie Igoe (Lexington, Mass.) finished with 11 points.

Western (2-0) was led by senior guard Heather Lee (Seymour, Conn.), who finished with 25 points, and senior center Melissa Teel (Hamden, Conn.), who tallied 19 rebounds and six blocks in the victory.

Western got off to a quick start, taking a 13-4 lead just three minutes in. Over the next 15 minutes the Bobcats cut the lead to four on five different occasions, and they were able to get within two, 32-30 with 15 seconds remaining in the first half. A Western basket at the buzzer by first-year Molly Poryanda (Branford, Conn.) gave the Colonials a 34-30 lead at the break.

Both teams came out of the locker room hard to start the second half, but Bates was never able to catch all the way up. Western took their biggest lead of the game with 7:27 left when Lee hit a jumper to put the Colonials up by 15, 66-51.

Bates kept fighting and got back to within two, 67-65, at the 2:12 mark when they went on a 14-1 run. First-year Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) started the run with a pair of free throws at the 7:00 mark, and two jumpers in a row by Igoe cut the lead to nine (66-57) with 5:19 to go. Beaulieu canned a jumper, and a steal and layup by Burns with 3:36 to play cut it to 67-62. Bates held Western scoreless on its next two trips down the floor, and with 2:12 left Beaulieu fed Kelly, who was fouled on her layup for a three-point play.

Igoe fouled senior guard Karli Spera (Waterford, Conn.)  with 1:58 to go, fouling out of the game, and Spera hit one of two shots at the line. Seconds later, Poryanda was fouled by Beaulieu, and she also made one of two for a four-point lead. Western knocked down 10 of 10 free throws over the final 1:32 to hold Bates off.

Along with Lee’s 25 points, Spera chipped in with 16 points. Poryanda also contributed big in the win with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Sophomore Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine) scored six points, grabbed five rebounds and made three steals in 17 minutes of action. Junior Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) had four points, four rebounds and three steals in 19 minutes, and Kelly totaled seven points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals in her collegiate debut.

BOX SCORE: Western Conn. St. 79, Bates 69