SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Three players reached double figures, including a game-best 19 points from junior center Forbasaw Nkamebo, to lead the Westfield State University basketball team to a 71-59 victory over Mount Holyoke College in non-conference action on Tuesday. With the win, the Owls improve to 2-2 overall, while the Lyons slip to 1-5 on the young season.
In addition to her 19 points, Nkamebo (Amherst, Mass./Amherst) added 10 rebounds, an assist and four steals. Senior guard Jen Ashton (Beverly, Mass./Beverly) added 15 points, six boards, two assists and four steals, while junior guard Keri Doldoorian (Whitinsville, Mass./Sutton) had 11 points, four caroms and three steals.
Mount Holyoke was paced by an outstanding effort from senior forward Nicole DeMarchena (Miami, Fla./Amherst), who posted 10 points and game-high marks in rebounds (13), blocks (6) and steals (5). Senior guard Kate Karraker (Morgantown, W.V./Taft School (Conn.)) had a game-best 19 points with a match-high six assists, while classmate and forward Amber Legare (Chicopee, Mass./Chicopee Comprehensive) posted a double-double of 14 points and 11 boards.
It was a close battle to open the game until the 13:57 mark as Doldoorian stretched a five-point lead to eight (17-9) with a three-point shot. Another shot from downtown by Ashton made it a 20-9 advantage seconds later and the Owls continued to stretch their lead to as many as 17 points (32-15) on a layup by Nkamebo with 7:25 left on the clock.
The homestanding Lyons battle back, cutting the lead to eight (38-30) on a trey from Karraker and further closing the gap in the final 25 seconds as another three from Karraker combined with a layup from first year forward Yvonne Dean-Bailey (Exeter, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy) made it 39-35 heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Owls took control early, turning a four-point advantage into a 14-point lead (52-38) on a layup from senior center Gabby Felix (Springfield, Mass./Commerce) at the 13:16 mark. Another three from Karraker, who had six in the game, made it an eight-point deficit (53-45), but Westfield State continued to press, opening it back up to a 16-point edge on a jumper and free throw combo from sophomore guard Kirsy Segarra (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke).
Junior guard Genelle Green (Windsor, Conn./Miss Porter's School) dropped in a layup to cut it to eight (63-55), but a pair of free throws from Nkamebo opened the double-digit advantage to 68-58 with 2:01 left on the clock. It was as close as the Lyons would get as a late free throw, combined with a layup from Doldoorian in the final 11 seconds sealed the victory.
Mount Holyoke is now idle through the holiday break, returning to action on December 3 with a 7pm game at Albertus Magnus. Westfield State is also idle through Thanksgiving, returning to action on December 4 with a 5:30pm home contest against Lasell.