LEWISTON, Maine -- Senior co-captain Allie Coppola scored a career-high 24 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and took over the game down the stretch to lead the Bates women's basketball team to a 64-57 win over the Colby College Mules Friday night at Alumni Gym.
Bates (4-8, 1-0 NESCAC) outscored the Mules (6-5, 0-1 NESCAC) 16-8 in the fourth quarter behind 12 points from Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y) including a clutch three-pointer with 2:57 to go in the game, the second made three of her career. Coppola made 10 of 11 shots from the field in the game.
The Bobcats crashed the boards all night, tallying 44 rebounds. Meanwhile the Mules only recorded 23 rebounds in the contest.
It was only fitting that rebounding played a crucial role in the game's turning point.
The Bobcats found themselves down 54-52 with 5:25 remaining. Senior co-captain Bernadette Connors (Windham, N.H.) missed a jumper. But Coppola grabbed the rebound. Then Coppola missed the layup, her first missed shot of the night. But she grabbed her own board. Then junior Nina Davenport (Freeport, Maine) missed a jumper. But Connors pulled down the rebound. That's when Coppola took advantage of the Bobcats' fourth chance by nailing a jumper, tying the game at 54 with 5:02 left in regulation.
After the Mules turned the ball over, Coppola made a layup to put Bates up 56-54. The Mules turned the ball over again and that's when Coppola drilled a three from the left wing, extending the Bates' lead to 59-54.
The Mules never got to within closer than four points after that and Coppola finished off her career night with a made free throw with two seconds left to give Bates their final margin of victory.
The Bobcats fell behind 5-0 early in the contest before Davenport got them on the board with a three-pointer with 8:54 to go in the first quarter. She finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Bates played from behind early; they didn't take their first lead until first-year Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) made a layup with 4:23 left in the first, putting the Bobcats up 13-11. Christofi tallied five points, five rebounds and four assists.
With the game tied at 13, the Bobcats went on a 6-0 run, thanks in large part to Connors sinking four free throws. She finished the game with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Bates led 19-15 at the end of the first quarter of action.
In the second quarter, Bates went up by as many as 12 points but the Mules surged late to keep the game within reach.
Junior Lyse Henshaw (Brunswick, Maine) sank a pair of free throws to put the Bobcats up 31-19 with 5:16 to go in the first half.
Bates made 16 of 20 free throws on the night, compared to Colby's four made free throws in 10 attempts.
A Haley Driscoll jumper with 58 seconds to go in the half cut the Bobcat lead to 35-29 heading into intermission.
The third quarter belonged to the Mules.
Driscoll scored two quick buckets right off the bat to cut the Bates' advantage to 35-33. Connors made a layup but Driscoll responded with one of her own. An Emily Davis layup with 6:48 left in the third tied the game at 37.
Ainsley Burns hit a jumper to briefly give the Mules a 39-37 lead with 6:14 to go in the third quarter but Coppola responded with a layup and Henshaw drilled a three to put Bates up 42-39.
The teams traded buckets until Katie McCrum hit a three with 1:50 to go in the third to tie the game at 46. Then after Davenport made a layup to put Bates back on top, Colby's Jackie Albanese nailed a three, giving Colby a 49-48 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter belonged to Coppola.
She made a layup less than a minute into the action to put Bates up 50-49.
After MK Caverly made a layup of her own, Coppola responded less than 20 seconds later with another bucket.
Caverly wasn't done, tallying another basket with 6:53 to go and sinking a free throw with 5:44 to go to put the Mules up 54-52.
That's when the remarkable sequence of offensive rebounds allowed Bates to tie the game at 54 on Coppola's jumper. Coppola was the only scorer in the fourth quarter for Bates until Connors sank a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left in regulation.
The Bobcats are back in action Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. when they welcome No. 17 nationally ranked Bowdoin to Alumni Gym.