SOUTH HADLEY, MASS. – Norwich University used 21 points and 16 rebounds from senior forward Heather LeBlanc to defeat Mount Holyoke College, 69-40 in non-conference basketball action on Wednesday. The Cadets improve to 14-8 overall, while the Lyons slip to 0-13.
Along with a strong performance from LeBlanc (Sanford, Maine/Sanford) Classmate Kayla Mercer (New Britain, Conn./Sport & Medical Sciences Academy) also had a solid game with 16 points, seven boards, and three assists. Senior forward Leanna Winans (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) almost completed a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.
For the Lyons, senior captain Xajaah Williams-Flores (The Bronx, N.Y./Holderness School) had a career and game-high 19 rebounds, 10 of them being offensive. She also had eight points and four steals on the night. Sophomore guard Leah Hodges (New Haven, Conn./Kolbe Cathedral) had her strongest game of the year offensively, posting a career-best 17 points and three assists. First year guard Kathryn Violette (Yokosuka City, Japan/Yokohama International School) scored 11 points, making it five out of the last six games that she has eclipsed double-figures.
The teams battled to a 3-3 tie, minutes into the first, but the Cadets went on a 14-2 run sparked by a three-pointer from Mercer, who also had two assists during the run. Violette knocked down a jumper with 1:26 remaining, but Cadets junior guard Shyann Josler (Thetford Center, Vt./Thetford Academy) countered with a jumper of her own to send Norwich into the second up 19-7.
Williams-Flores opened up the second quarter with five consecutive points to cut the lead to as low as 10, but LeBlanc connected on three layups to extend the lead back to 15 (25-10). The Lyons held Norwich scoreless for over four straight minutes, allowing MHC to come back to within 10 (25-15) after a layup from Violette. LeBlanc broke the cold streak with a bucket at the 2:08 mark to spark an 8-0 (33-16) run heading into halftime.
In the third, the Cadets came out on a 7-2 run, starting and ending on a LeBlanc layup to push the lead to 40-18. Three back-to-back treys from Mercer with 3:15 to go in the stanza gave Norwich its biggest lead of the game at 51-21. Hodges hit her fifth point of the quarter in the last 1:28, but a layup from Mercer gave the Cadets a 55-23 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Lyons opened up the fourth period strong, going on an 8-3 run, ignited by five points from Violette to cut the lead to 55-31. First year forward Katie Dixon (Revere, Mass./St.Mary's) hit a jumper for Norwich at the 5:59 mark, but on the next possession, Hodges hit Williams-Flores for the open layup to put the score at 60-33.
With 3:31 to go in the game, Josler knocked down a three, but it was immediately answered by Hodges who hit the second three-pointer of the game for MHC on the next trip down. The Lyons went on a quick 4-0 spurt with 1:42 on the clock, but four points from Norwich in the last minute was enough to secure the win.
Mount Holyoke will play in its last road game of the year on Saturday against MIT at 1:00pm. Norwich will also be back in action on Saturday at home against Johnson & Whales (RI) at 3:00pm.