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Brown leads women's basketball past Lasell, 57-52

Bernadette Connors shot 5-for-5 from the field and scored 12 points in Bates' 57-52 win over Lasell on Jan. 6, 2015. (File photo by Sarah Crosby/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior Molly Brown scored 28 points and sophomore Bernadette Connors added 12 as the Bates College women's basketball team outlasted Lasell College 57-52 Tuesday night in Alumni Gymnasium.

Bates (9-4) has won three straight heading into New England Small College Athletic Conference play. The Bobcats open their league schedule at Middlebury on Friday at 7pm.

Katie Stopera scored 19 points for the visiting Lasers (3-7), while Sherilyn Small added 11.

It is the third consecutive game with 27 or more points for Brown (South Dartmouth, Mass.), who was just named player of the week by the NESCAC, NEWBA and ECAC. The senior forward made 9-of-20 shots from the field, including 6-of-14 from behind the arc, and was 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. She added nine rebounds and three steals on the night. 

Connors (Windham, N.H.) was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including two 3-pointers. She also blocked a career-best three shots.

Sophomore Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and senior Kristin Calvo (South Deerfield, Mass.) had a game-high six assists for the Bobcats. First-year Nina Davenport (Freeport, Maine) contributed nine points and five rebounds from off the Bates bench.

Stopera and Breeana Williams shared Lasell's team rebounding lead with seven apiece; Williams also blocked three shots, and Stopera collected four steals.

The game was a defensive struggle throughout -- Lasell was limited to 28.8 percent shooting from the field (17-59), including 23.5% on 3-pointers. Bates was marginally more successful, with a 32.8% field goal percentage, 36.4% from behind the arc. The Bobcats committed 20 turnovers, Lasell 17.

Lasell never led by more than two points, but Bates never led by more than seven, as they did on a Davenport free throw with 21 seconds to go in the first half. Lasell's Justine Ryan made a jumper after that to close Bates' halftime lead to five points, at 27-22. 

Bates tried to pull away again and assumed a 41-34 lead with 11:25 left in the second half on a jumper from the wing by Davenport. But Lasell's Deanna Barrett scored five unanswered points and Breanna Cashman made a pair of free throws to tie the game up at 41-41.

Bates responded with a 7-0 run of its own, with a pair of free throws by Brown, a Brown 3-pointer and a layup by Chelsea Nason. Improbably, Lasell again responded with another 7-0 run, with two free throws by Small, a three by Stopera and a layup by Cashman to tie the game at 48-48.

The Lasers, who were 14-18 from the free-throw line as a team (77.8%), got another pair of foul shots from Williams to take a 52-50 lead with 2:40 to go. At the other end, Calvo found Brown open for a three that returned the lead to Bates for good at the 2:27 mark. Bates held Lasell scoreless over the final 2:39, and widened its lead with a jumper by Nason and a pair of free throws by Calvo for the final score.