WORCESTER, Mass. – The Worcester State University women's basketball team edged the visiting MCLA Trailblazers 55-51 in Saturday afternoon's Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup inside the Lancer Gymnasium.
With the win, the Lancers advance to 8-12 and 4-3 in the MASCAC. The Trailblazers dip to 7-11 and 2-5 in the conference.
After a scoreless first two and a half minutes of play, MCLA jumped out with two back-to-back layups for the 4-0 go-ahead. Worcester State fought back and tied the score twice in the last three minutes of the quarter. However, MCLA's Courtney Pingelski (Mechanicville, N.Y.) drained a triple just under a minute to go into the second frame ahead 11-8.
MCLA held their lead well into the second frame, until Worcester State's Kaitlyn Berkel (Waterford, Conn.) knotted the score at 15-15 on an and-one. Despite the tie, the visitors kept a slim lead until the last minute of play when Worcester's Britt Herring (W. Brookfield, Mass.) made a layup for the Lancers' first lead of the game. Nevertheless, the Trailblazers took back a 1-point lead going into the half as MCLA's Emily Moulton (N. Adams, Mass.) made a jumper to put them ahead 23-22 at the break.
Following the intermission, Worcester State held their lead throughout the entire third quarter as they outscored their opponents 16-13 in that stanza. The game got interesting in the fourth as it saw two lead changes and three ties.
MCLA started the fourth quarter with an 8-2 run, including a three from Ashley Clawson (Tolland, Conn.), to mark a 4-point lead. The teams battled back-and-forth over the next four minutes of play until the Lancers took their final lead with 3:47 to go in the game. Worcester State's Berkel was on fire as she scored seven points in the last four minutes of the game. The Trailblazers were only able to get two Kayla Hotaling (Ravena, N.Y.) layups past Worcester State's defense, as the game concluded with a final score of 55-51 in the Lancers favor.
Worcester State's Berkel led all scoring with 16 points and collected nine boards and a steal. Herring picked up a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds and blocked three shots. The Lancers saw eight points from Brianna Hackett (Hollis, N.H.), and seven from freshman Catherine Sweeney (Lowell, Mass.), while Kate Surprenant (Pelham, N.H.) guided the offense with a game-high eight assists.
The Trailblazers were led by Hotaling with 14 points, while Moulton picked up 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds and three blocks. Brayleigh Hanlon (Wynanskill, N.Y.) and Mckenzie Robinson (Adams Mass.) chipped in seven and six points, respectively.
Worcester State held the shooting advantage over MCLA, as they went 22-for-56 (39.3%) from the field and converted 11-of-13 (84.6%) free throws.
Next up, the Lancers travel to Salem State on Wednesday (Feb. 1) for a 7:30 p.m. matchup. The Trailblazers return to action on the same day, as they travel to Westfield State.