FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - The Worcester State University women's basketball team stands alone in first place in the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference standings after the Lancers escaped with a 56-55 win over Framingham State University Wednesday night at the Athletic Center.
With the victory, the Lancers improve to 16-5 overall on the season, and 7-1 in the MASCAC. Framingham State drops to 14-6 and 6-2 in the MASCAC. The Lancers, Rams, and Westfield State entered the night all at 6-1 in conference play, and with the Owls idle on Wednesday, Worcester State moves into the top spot in the conference standings.
Thanks to a pair of buckets from senior Kaitlyn Berkel (Waterford, Conn.) and one from Brittany Herring (West Brookfield, Mass.), the Lancers opened the contest on a 6-0 run, before Ram junior Mary Kate O'Day (Berlin, Mass.) hit a three for the first Framingham State points 5:36 into the contest. The rest of the quarter was played relatively evenly, and the first came to an end with the Lancers holding an 11-9 lead.
Worcester State scored the first five points of the second quarter to take their largest lead of the night at 16-9 with 7:15 showing on the clock, but the Rams would not go away quietly. Over the next four minutes, Framingham State would go on a 10-2 run, capped by a Camille Desrochers (Westford, Mass.) 3-pointer, giving the hosts their first lead of the evening at 19-18. It proved to be the first of 10 lead changes on the evening. The teams traded baskets in the closing minutes of the second quarter, which was closed out by a buzzer-beating three from Worcester State senior Kate Surprenant (Pelham, N.H.), leveling the score at 25-25 heading into the half.
The Lancers used a 11-2 run in the middle stages of the third quarter to take a 38-31 lead, but once again the Rams would come storming back. Worcester State wouldn't score in the final three and a half minutes of the quarter as Framingham State would close the period on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 40-39 at the end of three.
O'Day scored her 1,000th career point on a free throw early in the fourth quarter, but the Lancers were determined to play the role of spoilers on the evening, as neither team gave an inch in the period. With her Rams trailing by just a point with 17 seconds to show, O'Day had a layup blocked out of bounds by Herring. Out of the resulting inbounds play, the Lancers forced Framingham State into a turnover, securing the narrow 56-55 win.
Berkel recorded a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double to lead the Lancers to the victory on the evening. Junior Catherine Sweeney (Lowell, Mass.) finished a bucket shy of a double-double of her own, finishing the evening with eight points and 11 boards. Senior Emily Carens (Northboro, Mass.) chipped in nine points for the Lancers off the bench, while Herring finished with eight.
O'Day led all scorers on the night with 24 points in the losing effort for Framingham State.
Worcester State will be back in action on Saturday with a road trip to MCLA. The Lancers and Trailblazers will tip off at 1 p.m.