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Wesleyan comes back to tip women's hoops

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Wesleyan University overcame a seven-point deficit in the second half, then surged ahead with an 11-0 run late in the game, as the Cardinals defeated the Bates women's basketball team 78-67 on Saturday afternoon.

Junior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) led the Bobcats with 14 points and a season-high eight rebounds, tying for the team lead on the glass with first-year Allaina Murphy (Poland Spring, Maine), who also scored nine points. Junior Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.) added 10 points, with sophomore Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) and senior Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) adding nine and eight points, respectively. Senior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) distributed a game-high six assists.

Sam LaCroce and Eileen Gaffney scored 16 points apiece for Wesleyan (10-5, 3-3 NESCAC), while Emily Lippe led the Cardinals in rebounding (10) and assists (4). Amber Wessells and Jenna Klaes scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

With Bates holding a 48-41 edge with 14:56 remaining, Wesleyan went on an 11-3 run to grab a 52-51 lead with 9:18 to go. Cherkira Lashlay hit a pair of baskets to trigger the Cardinal run.

The teams played nip-and-tuck for the next two minutes as the squads were tied, 56-56, at the 7:12 mark. But the bucket from senior Eileen Gaffney that evened the count at 56 started a game-clinching 11-0 burst that spotted the Cardinals a 65-56 margin with 4:32 left. The Bobcats got no closer than six in the closing minutes as the Cardinals pulled ahead by as many 14, 75-61, with :55 on the clock.

Though Wesleyan led early on, 6-1, Bates controlled the first half, leading by as many as nine, 28-19, with 6:47 to go. Flaherty, who was 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the game, made four straight during as 12-5 run by Bates, as did Beaulieu, who scored six points in that span. The lead belonged to the Bobcats for the final 14:25 of the period, but Wesleyan made a late run to narrow the gap to a lone point at halftime, 38-37.

A 10-2 start to the second period, featuring a pair of hoops by Kelly and one apiece by senior Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.), Murphy and Beaulieu, gave the Bobcats their largest lead of the second half, 48-41.

Wesleyan defeated Bates for just the third time in the last 10 meetings. Bates holds a 16-12 lead in the overall series.

Bates (7-10, 2-4 NESCAC) plays host to Saint Joseph's College of Maine for a non-conference game on Tuesday at 7pm. (Live Stats / Video).

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