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Women's hoops nears upset of No. 18 Bowdoin behind Davenport's 34

Nina Davenport exploded for 34 points in Bates' 74-67 loss to No. 18 Bowdoin on Feb. 13, 2015. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Facing first-place and 18th-ranked Bowdoin and owning an eight-game losing streak, the Bates women's basketball team surprised observers by making a run at the Polar Bears before ultimately falling 74-67 on Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium, as Bowdoin earned its 18th consecutive victory.

Bates (9-14, 0-9 NESCAC) erased a game-high 14-point deficit with 12:26 left in the second half with a 26-11 run, taking the lead briefly at 60-59 with 4:52 left to play. Bowdoin (21-2, 9-0 NESCAC) responded with a 10-2 run to resume control of the game.

The Bobcats finish their season on Saturday, hosting Colby at 3pm. Bowdoin plays at No. 4 Tufts (22-1, 9-0) on Saturday at 3pm to determine the top seed in next week's NESCAC Championship tournament.

First-year forward Nina Davenport (Freeport, Maine) scored a season-high 34 points for the Bobcats, including 20 in the first half, but Bowdoin's Sara Binkhorst countered with 29, including 7-of-9 shooting from behind the three-point arc, to pace the Polar Bears. Shannon Brady contributed 15 points and eight rebounds for Bowdoin, while Kate Kerrigan added 13 points, seven rebounds and three steals. 

Bates sophomore Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) had 11 points and a game-high nine boards, while junior Chelsea Nason (Boxford, Mass.) pitched in nine points, all scored on 3-pointers in the second half, to go with eight rebounds.

Bowdoin scored the first 12 points of the contest, powered by threes from Binkhorst and Kerrigan. Bates netted its first points with a pair of free throws by sophomore Bernadette Connors (Windham, N.H.) at the 14:25 mark, and Davenport made it 12-4 with a defensive rebound and a coast-to-coast layup. Davenport knocked down a jumper and followed with her first three to close the gap to 14-9 and prompt a Bowdoin timeout at 10:38.

A three by Bates senior Kristin Calvo (South Deerfield, Mass.) and a Davenport jumper closed the gap to 22-18, but Lydia Caputi responded with a three, and Binkhorst scored a three-point play with 3:28 to go to expand the edge into double digits (28-18).

Davenport was still warming up, however, and she rattled off seven unanswered points, nailing a three to narrow the gap to 28-25 and prompt another Bowdoin timeout at 2:03. The Polar Bears finished the half with a 7-0 run, capped by a Binkhorst three in the final seconds, for a 35-25 halftime lead.

Binkhorst continued to thwart Bates' defense, drilling threes at 13:43 and 12:26 of the second half to open up a 48-34 advantage. Bates began chipping away with a pair of Davenport free throws, and unanswered hoops by first-year Emily Freedland (Marblehead, Mass.), Coppola, first-year Jackie Welch (Falmouth, Maine) and Connors closed the gap to 48-44. Binkhorst answered with a three, followed by a three-point play by Siena Mitman for a 54-46 lead, prompting a Bates timeout with 8:00 to go.

Nason drained her first three out of the timeout with 7:48 to go in the game, closing the gap to 54-49, but Binkhorst responded with another three of her own. After a layup by Bowdoin's Marle Curle at 6:51, Coppola converted a three-point play to start a run of nine unanswered points by the Bobcats, combined with threes by Nason and Davenport, the latter of which put Bates on top for the first and only time in the game at 60-59.

Binkhorst again had the answer for Bowdoin, calmly sinking a 15-foot jumper to regain the lead, and Kerrigan followed with a pair of free throws, then a steal and a layup for a 65-60 lead. Bowdoin made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.