GORHAM, Maine – Regis College was able to rally from an early deficit and actually took the lead in the fourth quarter, but Southern Maine executed on both ends of the floor down the stretch to pull out a 68-60 victory over the Pride Saturday night in a non-conference women's collegiate basketball game at Hill Gym.
In her collegiate debut, Pam Gonzalez (Revere, Mass.) led the Pride with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Shannon Kelley (Quincy, Mass.) hit three three-pointers as she finished with a career-high 11 points. Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) collected eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, and three steals, and Mackenzie Emery (Standish, Maine) also pulled down seven rebounds to go along with four points and three assists.
After Regis took a 6-3 lead two minutes into the game, Southern Maine rattled off 14 unanswered points over the next five-and-a-half minutes, capped by a layup from Victoria Harris. The Pride responded with a 13-2 scoring run to pull into a 19-19 tie before a jumper by Samantha Averill right before the buzzer gave the Huskies a 21-19 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The Huskies extended their lead to seven early in the second quarter before consecutive three-pointers by Kelley and Marissa Prall (Hopkinton, Mass.) closed the Pride deficit to one at 27-26. A layup by Gonzalez put the Pride on top, 30-29, but the Huskies quickly struck back, scoring six straight points on their way to a 35-33 halftime lead.
Southern Maine (1-0) scored seven straight points in the opening minute of the third quarter, capped by a three-pointer from Jackie Luckhardt, and then extended its lead further to 48-35 on consecutive baskets by Harris and a layup by Audrey Pohl. Bitinaitis started a 7-0 Regis scoring run with a three-pointer, and two free throws apiece by Emery and Gonzalez brought the Pride within six at 54-48 at the end of the third quarter.
Gonzalez scored the first five points of the fourth quarter, and then a jumper by Taylor Iorfino (Monroe, Conn.) midway through the period gave the Pride a 55-54 lead. The Huskies took the lead for good on baskets by Michelle Rowe and Abi Ramirez, but Regis was able to stay within one possession heading into the final 22 seconds of regulation.
Down 63-60 after a Luckhardt free throw, Regis had the ball with a chance to set up a play during a timeout, but the Pride committed a five-second inbounding violation. Ramirez made one of two free throws, but the Huskies grabbed the rebound, and Harris put the game away with a layup.
Luckhardt led the Huskies with 15 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and six steals, while Kristen Curley also scored 15 points and Harris added 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocked shots. As a team, Southern Maine shot 37.9 percent (25-of-66) from the field and 63 percent (17-of-27) from the free throw line.
For the second straight night, Regis struggled in the shooting department, hitting only 31.4 percent (16-of-51) of its field goal attempts, including 6-of-20 from behind the three-point line, but the Pride did hit 88 percent (22-of-25) of their free throw attempts. Regis did enjoy a slight 39-37 rebounding edge, but it also committed 27 turnovers, leading to 33 Husky points.
Regis (0-2) continues its season-opening stretch of road games Wednesday night, Nov. 13, at UMass Dartmouth starting at 6 p.m.