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Comeback at St. Joe's comes up short for women's basketball

Nina Davenport scored 23 points with eight rebounds in Bates' 71-66 loss at St. Joseph's College on Dec. 8, 2016. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

STANDISH, Maine -- The Bates women's basketball team clawed back from a 15-point deficit to within one in the final minute on a 3-pointer by junior Nina Davenport, but the host Monks of St. Joseph's College held off the Bobcats for a 71-66 victory Thursday night.

Davenport (Freeport, Maine) scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss for Bates (2-4), while senior Bernadette Connors (Windham, N.H.) added 19 points and seven assists. Junior Lyse Henshaw (Brunswick, Maine) pitched in with 11 points, and senior Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) grabbed eight rebounds before fouling out in 23 minutes of action.

Emily Benway led St. Joe's (6-1) with 15 points and six rebounds, while Kelsi McNamara posted 13 points and seven assists.

The Monks shot .516 from the field and made 4-of-11 shots from three-point territory in the first half to build a 40-29 lead at the break. They started the third quarter with a 6-2 spurt that gave them a game-high 46-31 lead with 8:50 to go in the period. 

St. Joe's then turned the ball over on consecutive possessions and a layup by Davenport began a spurt of seven unanswered points by the Bobcats that turned into a 12-2 run, capped by Henshaw's three with 3:41 remaining in the third. Connors totaled five points and three assists in the run.

A three by Ayla Tartre returned the St. Joe's lead into double digits at 55-45 and a pair of free throws by Regan McFerran with six seconds left in the third made it 57-50 heading into the final period.

First-year guard Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) made 3-pointers at the 8:38 and 4:38 marks of the fourth, and in between Henshaw also made a three, as the Bobcats closed the gap to 65-63.

The Monks were held without a point on three straight possessions before McNamara's layup made it 67-63 with 2:47 left.

Davenport and Christofi both missed threes on Bates' next possession while Hannah Marks and McNamara both missed on the St. Joe's end. Then with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, Coppola kicked the ball out to Davenport for a deep three to slice the deficit to a point, at 67-66.

McNamara was sent to the free-throw line twice in a row, and in between Davenport missed a would-be go-ahead three. McNamara's foul shot with 31 seconds to go made it a two-possession game at 70-66, and Bates missed two final three-point attempts in the final half-minute.

Bates next plays its annual non-conference game with rival Bowdoin on Saturday at 3pm.