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Women's basketball grabs early lead but falls 62-58 at Wesleyan

Senior co-captain Bernadette Connors scored 14 points at Wesleyan on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. (File photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Nina Davenport scored a game-high 23 points and Bernadette Connors added 14 points in a close 62-58 loss for the Bates women's basketball team Saturday afternoon on the road to the Wesleyan University Cardinals. 

Bates (5-12, 2-4 NESCAC) took a 37-29 lead over the Cardinals (6-10, 1-5 NESCAC) when senior co-captain Allie Coppola (Tarrytown, N.Y.) hit a jumper with 5:40 left in the third quarter. Coppola scored six points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in the contest.

But the Cardinals ended the third quarter on a remarkable 11-0 run, taking the lead for good on a Chynna Bailey layup with 1:32 to go.

Trailing by three entering the fourth quarter, Bates cut the deficit to two on a Connors (Windham, N.H.) layup with 9:05 remaining in regulation.

But Wesleyan pushed the lead back up to 10 with 3:21 to go on a Heidi Scarth layup. A quick 5-0 run from Bates, capped off by a Lyse Henshaw '18 (Brunswick, Maine) three trimmed the score to 56-51 in favor of the Cardinals.

Then with 1:05 to go, Davenport (Freeport, Maine) drilled a three to cut the deficit to 59-56.

But three made free throws from Kadijah Mathews in the final minute of action was just enough for Wesleyan to hang on, despite a Connors jumper at the buzzer, which led to the game's final score of 62-58.

Bates got off to a very hot start in the first quarter. Davenport hit a three less than a minute into the game and Connors made a jumper with 8:02 left in the first to put Bates up 5-2. Bates kept the fast start going and Coppola extended their lead to 9-2 on a jumper with 6:44 remaining in the first quarter.

Bates took their biggest lead of the game on a made free throw from first-year Carly Christofi (Fairlawn, N.J.) with 4:31 left in the first quarter. Her free throw put Bates up 16-5.

The Bobcats held a 19-11 lead with 1:36 left in the first but the Cardinals ended the period on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to three.

Henshaw hit a three with 4:59 left in the second to extend the Bates lead to 25-18. A 9-3 run from Wesleyan made the score 28-27 in favor of Bates at halftime.

Bates built their lead back up in the third quarter until the big 11-0 run for the Cardinals ultimately made the difference in the game.

Bates is back in action at Tufts on Saturday, January 28. Tip is set for 3:00 p.m.