NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Senior forward Amber Legare netted a game-best 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Mount Holyoke College basketball team to a 54-52 victory at Smith College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Wednesday evening. With the victory, the Lyons move to 6-12 overall and 3-6 in conference play, while the Pioneers slip to 6-11 with a 2-7 NEWMAC mark.
Additionally, the win the for Lyons marks the first against Smith since the 2008-09 season. The Pioneers had come into the contest having won each of the last 11 contests, including the most recent match-up on January 15th.
In addition to her 11th double-double of the season, Legare, who was 8-for-11 from both the field and the line, also added an assist and two steals in the win. Senior guard Kate Karraker chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal, while junior guard Genelle Green added seven points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior forward Nicole DeMarchena posted a game-best three blocks with eight rebounds and an assist.
For the Pioneers, Samantha Alakai had a team-high 12 points with seven rebounds, two steals and a block, while Meghan Holland had 10 points, five rebounds and a game-best three steals and four assists. Lauren Weston came off the bench to add seven points and four rebounds with a block, while Alyssa Barrett had six points.
The game was highlighted by the special guest coach appearances from Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella and Smith President Kathleen McCartney. In addition to serving as guest coaches for their respective teams, both also introduced the starting lineups for their squads as well.
In a game that was close right from the start, the Lyons held a 29-25 lead at halftime, but Smith kept it tight heading into the second half as Alakai nailed a jumper and followed with a layup to make it a 32-31 advantage for Smith at the 17:53 mark.
The Pioneers added two more buckets to open up a 36-31 lead, but MHC countered as back-to-back buckets from Legare tied the game at 36-all with 12:47 on the clock. That led to a give-and-take battle throughout the remainder of the frame as the two teams not only traded the lead but also held it to no more than a five-point differential.
A pair of free throws from Legare with 2:55 remaining made it 46-43, but Smith's Alakai delivered once again. Mount Holyoke built the lead up to five (50-45) on two more makes at the line by Legare, but the Pioneers continued to fight. A three-pointer from Holland made it 51-49 with 36 seconds remaining, but critical free throws from sophomore guard Kelly Stewart put the visitors back up by four with 16 seconds to go.
Barrett nailed another three for the home team to close the gap to one (53-52) once again, but Legare came through with another make at the charity stripe to seal the victory.
The Lyons, who shot 43.2% (16-37) from the field, return to action on Saturday when they host Wellesley at 1pm. The Pioneers are also on the court on Saturday, traveling to Emerson for a 1pm tilt.