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Women's basketball falls in heartbreaker at UNE, 76-75

BIDDEFORD, Maine -- Kelley Paradis's free throw with four seconds left in the game gave the University of New England a 76-75 non-conference win over the Bates women's basketball team on Wednesday night, a game in which the host Nor'easters led for only 21 seconds.

UNE (7-2) had tied the Bobcats at three different points in the game -- once in the second half (25-25) and three in the second half (at 43-43, 45-45 and 75-75) -- but after a game-opening three-pointer by Bobcat first-year forward Molly Brown (South Dartmouth, Mass.), the Bobcats never trailed until 1:12 remained in regulation, when Paradis made a layup on an assist by Margo Russell. The Bobcats retook the lead 17 seconds later, when junior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) hit her third three-pointer of the night with 55 seconds left on an assist by junior Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine). UNE's Beth Suggs then tied the game at 75 on a jumper with 29 seconds left. Beaulieu tried to put the Bobcats ahead one more time with a jumpshot attempt with nine seconds left that missed and was rebounded by UNE's Lauren Rousseau. Paradis was then fouled with four seconds left and missed the first to keep the score tied, but made the second for the decisive 76-75 score.

Russell's jumper tied the game at 45-45 with 16:14 left in the game, but a jumper by Bates sophomore Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) a minute later restored Bates' lead until the final 72 seconds of the game.

Kelly led the Bobcats with 18 points, hitting 8-of-11 shots from the field and also making two steals. Hawkins came within a point of her career-high with 15 points, making 5-of-6 field goal attempts, and Brown scored 10 points to lead all starters. Senior Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) came off the bench for only the second time in her 87-game Bates career and contributed a game-high seven assists and four steals while grabbing a team-high six rebounds.

Paradis paced the Nor'easters with 23 points to go with seven rebounds. Russell added a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards, and Kelly Coleman also netted 16 points.

Bates led from the outset, and the difference reached 10 (21-11) with just under eight minutes gone. UNE strung together eight unanswered to get the margin down to two, and, soon after, the game was tied at 25-all.

The Bobcats outscored the hosts by five the rest of the period, taking a 41-36 cushion into the break. Bates converted 52 percent (15 of 29) shot attempts in the half, and connected on 4-of-6 tries from deep. Both Coleman (UNE) and Hawkins (Bates) tallied 13 points in the frame to pace their respective teams.

Paradis and Russell each brought the contest back even (43-all, 45-all) with baskets in the early going of the second, only to see Bates slowly restore the 10-point lead (64-54) it once had with 8:22 left.

Bates (5-6) will work to regroup for the their opening weekend of NESCAC play -- the Bobcats play at Middlebury on Friday at 6pm (Live Stats / Webcast), followed by a game at Williams on Saturday at 2pm Live StatsWebcast).