KEENE, N.H. – Regis College rallied back from a double-digit deficit to close to within one point late in regulation, but the Pride could not complete the comeback as Keene State held on for a 45-41 victory Sunday afternoon in a non-conference women's collegiate basketball game at Spaulding Gym.
Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) scored the first basket of the game, but Keene State responded with a 14-4 scoring run, capped by consecutive three-pointers from Emily McPadden and Jenny Freedman, to pull ahead by eight. Taylor Iorfino (Monroe, Conn.) and Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) made baskets to cut the Pride deficit in half, but an Owl free throw in the final minute established the Keene State advantage at 15-10 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Regis closed to within two twice before Keene State rattled off seven unanswered points on four free throws by Kenzie Bennett and a three-pointer by Hien Thach. Arie Searcy (Santa Rosa, Calif.) hit a layup with one minute remaining in the first half to bring the Pride within seven at 27-20 at halftime.
Keene State (2-4) increased its lead to 10 early in the third quarter on a layup by Thach and a free throw from Bennett, and the Owls would maintain that lead as the quarter concluded thanks to two more three-pointers from McPadden.
After an exchange of baskets early in the fourth quarter, Regis held Keene State scoreless for the next six-and-a-half minutes while scoring nine unanswered points, capped by a three-pointer from Maura Russell (Braintree, Mass.), to pull within one at 40-39. After Bennett made one of two free throw attempts with 2:11 remaining in regulation, the Pride had numerous chances to tie or take the lead, but they missed four field goal attempts and two free throw chances.
With the Owl lead at three in the final seconds of regulation, Iorfino hit a layup to bring the Pride within one. Thach was fouled, but she made just one of two free throw chances, giving the Pride one final opportunity. However, Regis committed a turnover, and Keene State solidified the victory with two made free throws by McPadden.
Veasey led the Pride with 11 points, while Iorfino finished with 10 points and six rebounds and Bitinaitis added nine rebounds and 10 assists. As a team, the Pride shot just 29.1 percent (16-of-55) from the field, including 2-of-14 from behind the three-point line, and 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the free throw line.
Bennett led the Owls with 15 points, while McPadden contributed 11 points. Keene State prevailed despite shooting just 28.3 percent (13-of-46) from the field, including 6-of-22 from behind the three-point line, and 65 percent (13-of-20) from the free throw line.
Regis (0-3) opens its home schedule against Westfield State Wednesday, Nov. 28, starting at 6 p.m. at Higgins Court.