Kelly's spark not enough for women's basketball

LEWISTON, Maine -- Madie Harlem scored 23 points to propel Hamilton College to a 60-50 NESCAC victory over the Bates women's basketball team on Saturday night, in the host Bobcats' conference finale.

Samantha Graber added 15 points and Eliza Howe scored 13 for the Continentals (12-10, 3-6 NESCAC). Olivia Pimm grabbed 10 rebounds, helping Hamilton to a 45-30 advantage on the boards.

Junior Meredith Kelly (Cohasset, Mass.) led the Bobcats (11-11, 4-6 NESCAC) with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and senior Brianna Hawkins (South Portland, Maine) added nine on 4-of-6 shooting. But as a team, Bates made 33.9% from the field, including 17.4% from beyond the arc (4/23).

Bates is the only team in the NESCAC to have finished up its conference schedule, with the league schedule a jumble due to Winter Storm Nemo. The Bobcats are assured of one of eight berths in the NESCAC Women's Basketball Championship, slated to begin next weekend, but might have missed a chance at winning the fourth seed and hosting a quarterfinal game.

Hamilton, which has now won two straight NESCAC games in its fight to gain a berth at NESCACs, was slated to finish up its regular season with a game at Tufts on Sunday, which was originally scheduled to be played yesterday. The game has been postponed again, with a makeup date yet to be announced.

After Kelly led off the scoring with a layup off the opening tip, Hamilton embarked on a 21-6 run to assume a 21-8 lead with 11:03 left in the first half. Graber started things off by hitting Hamilton's first shot of the game, a three set up by Rachel Fredey, and Harlem added two more threes inside the first four minutes of the game. Harlem's jumper at the 15:41 mark led to a Bates timeout, but Howe sandwiched a three by Kim Goidell with a pair of jumpers, offsetting sophomore Hillary Throckmorton's (Bangor, Maine) three from the left corner for Bates.

Harlem continued to score, making a layup and a pair of free throws for a 30-16 Hamilton lead with 4:34 to play in the half, before Bates cut into the deficit with a fast-break layup by Kelly, a steal by senior Allie Beaulieu (Swampscott, Mass.) leading to a pair of foul shots by senior Taryn O'Connell (Georgetown, Mass.), and a Beaulieu jumper. Howe finished out the first-half scoring, however, for a 32-23 halftime advantage for the Continentals. Harlem had 14 points in the half and Howe added nine, while Kelly had 10 points in the period for the Bobcats.

Hawkins converted a three-point play to open the second half, trimming Hamilton's lead to 34-26, but that was as close as Bates would get for the rest of the game. The Continentals outscored the Bobcats 18-3 over the ensuing eight minutes of action for a commanding 52-29 lead with 10:46 left in the game. Graber, who scored a game-high 10 points in the second period, scored eight points in the decisive stretch, and Harlem drilled a three to finish it off at the 10:46 mark.

Bates sophomore Kristin Calvo (South Deerfield, Mass.) spotted up and drained a three to end Hamilton's run, and the Bobcats spent the last 10 minutes of the game doing their best to whittle away Hamilton's big lead. Beaulieu and junior Julia Rafferty (Reading, Mass.) bookended a Kelly layup with three-pointers, with Rafferty's cutting the deficit to 60-50 with 2:15 left in the game. But the comeback attempt stalled out the rest of the way, with Bates missing its last three shots and committing two turnovers.

Bates will finish the regular season with a home game against UMaine-Presque Isle on Tuesday at 5:30pm (Video / Live Stats). It will be senior night for tri-captains Beaulieu, Hawkins and O'Connell.