SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Feb. 11, 2012) – First year forward Amber Legare exploded for a career-best 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor to lead the Mount Holyoke College basketball team to a thrilling 59-57 triumph over the Coast Guard Academy this afternoon at the Mildred S. Howard Gymnasium. With the win, the Lyons completed the season sweep of their NEWMAC counterparts.
Legare netted all five of her free throws and also piled up a career-high four blocked shots. She was joined in double figures by classmate Kate Karraker, who scored a career-best 11 points off the bench. The sharpshooter knocked down three-shots from beyond the arc and also netted a long jumper. Senior guard Christine Chancy recorded seven points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, junior guard Jasmine Brown dished out five assists.
Mount Holyoke converted 35.6% (21-59) of its shots from the field and 84.6% (11-13) of its free throws. The Lyons also finished with a 37-35 edge on the glass thanks to seven boards apiece from junior guard Angelica Pascual and senior forward Tricia Chase.
First year guard Alexi Howland set the tone for Coast Guard with 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting from long range. Classmate Brittney Zimmerman collected 10 points and six assists, while sophomore forward Alexa Hunko added six points and 12 rebounds. The Bears also received a boost from first year forward Dani Knox, who posted eight points and six assists. As a team, they shot 41.5% (22-53) from the field and 64.3% (9-14) from the charity stripe.
Coast Guard jumped out to a 7-0 advantage and led 18-10 following a pair of free throws by sophomore forward Larla Brown at the 7:09 mark of the first half. The Bears enjoyed a 26-20 edge after a jumper by senior forward Mary Mills, but Mount Holyoke answered with six straight points and eventually went in front 29-28 on a three-pointer by Karraker in the waning seconds of the opening period.
The teams jockeyed for position in the early stages of the second half, with neither side leading by more than five points over the first 12 minutes. After seeing its lead cut to 48-46 at the 7:56 mark, Mount Holyoke took control with an 8-3 run over the next four minutes. Chase's first career three-pointer capped off the rally and gave the Lyons a 56-49 cushion with 3:45 remaining in regulation.
Refusing to go away, Coast Guard scored the next five points and sliced the deficit to 58-57 on a free throw by Howland with 1:14 to go. After forcing a shot clock violation at the other end, the Bears turned the ball over on their ensuing possession and sent Chase to the free throw line with 11 seconds remaining.
The senior made her first free throw to give Mount Holyoke a 59-57 advantage. After her second attempt rimmed out, the Bears grabbed the rebound and raced up the floor with a chance to tie or take the lead. They ball made its way to Knox in the corner, but Legare swatted away her long jumper as time expired.
Over the course of the afternoon, donations were accepted, with all proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Fans were encouraged to wear pink and contribute to research initiatives, as the Lyons took part in the WBCA's Play 4Kay initiative. Play 4Kay is a global, unified effort for the WBCA nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
Mount Holyoke (5-17, 3-13) is slated to host Springfield College on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Meanwhile, Coast Guard (5-16, 1-15) will visit the Merchant Marine Academy on Monday at 7:00 p.m.