WATERVILLE, Maine -- With leading scorer Nina Davenport out of action for the first time in her college career, the Bates women's basketball team led by as many as five points in the first quarter before host Colby passed the Bobcats en route to a 72-63 non-conference victory on Tuesday at Wadsworth Gymnasium.
Colby (4-3) had all five of its starters in double figures and received nine assists from point guard MK Caverly.
Bates (2-3) received 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists from senior captain Bernadette Connors (Windham, N.H.), while senior captain Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) contributed 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
First-year guard Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) added 16 points and seven rebounds in her first collegiate start, shooting 4-for-6 from three-point territory.
The two teams will meet next month at Bates in their New England Small College Athletic Conference game on Friday, Jan. 6.
Caverly had seven of her nine assists in the second half, added 10 points, and five steals. While the Mules had eight steals in the game, Colby's defense consistently forced the Bobcats to shoot in the final 10 seconds of the shot clock.
Ainsley Burns was 8-for-16 from the field and tied for a game-high with 17 points. Haley Driscoll added 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting and had seven rebounds, while Emily Davis made six of her 11 shots on the way to 14 points. Katie McCrum was 4-for-7 from the field for 11 points and added six rebounds and four assists.
Junior Lyse Henshaw (Brunswick, Maine) added nine points for the Bobcats.
The Mules shot a solid 47.5 percent from the field and had just five turnovers in the game. Bates only had 11 turnovers and helped its own cause by shooting 85.7 percent (12-for-14) from the foul line.
Bates had its best quarter in the opening 10 minutes and led 18-15. The Mules bounced back in the second quarter by holding the Bobcats to 3-for-13 shooting while taking a 34-30 halftime lead.
The Mules led by as many as 13 points (47-34) in the third quarter before the Bobcats chipped it down to a 51-45 margin heading into the fourth quarter. Caverly had eight points in the fourth quarter to help the Mules pull away in the final 10 minutes.
The Bobcats next play Thursday at St. Joseph's College with a 5:30pm tipoff.