NORTHAMPTON, Mass.— Smith forced 25 first half turnovers and took a big first half lead en route to a 74-57 win over Coast Guard in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game.
The Pioneers won their fourth straight to improve to 6-1 overall and remain unbeaten at 4-0 in conference play. Coast Guard, which saw its two-game win streak snapped, drops to 4-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Smith, the ECAC Division III New England Champions last season, jumped out to an 18-4 lead with 11:34 left in the first half as they forced the Bears to turn the ball over 12 times in that opening span with the four Coast Guard points coming on a pair of baskets by freshman Victoria Sutherland, who played the best game of her young career.
The Bears cut the lead to 24-13 on another hoop by Sutherland with 6:39 left but Smith scored 12 straight to open a 36-13 lead with 2:52 left in the first half. Smith led 39-22 at the break. Coast Guard shot the ball well, 40 percent from the floor in the first half (8-20), but the Bears turned the ball over 24 times in the opening 20 minutes.
Coast Guard played much better in the second half against one of the top teams in the NEWMAC, again shooting well (12 of 28) at 42.9 percent while turning the ball over just six times. The Bears shot 41.7 percent for the game while making 5 of 13 from 3-point range.
Sutherland finished with a game and career-high 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds while freshman Meghan Fornaro finished with 14 points while sophomore Dani Knox added ten points and five rebounds for the Bears. Sutherland was 8 for 14 from the floor while Fornaro made 5 of 11 from the field while making 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Devon Quattrocchi led Smith with 20 points as the Pioneers shot 42.6 percent from the field (29 of 68) and made 6 of 16 from behind the arc.
"Smith is a very good team. Their aggressive style of play caused us to turn the ball over quite a bit in the first half," said Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck. " I am pleased that the players never gave up and I thought we did a much better job attacking in the second half."
The Bears close out first semester play when they host Conn. College on Sunday at 2 p.m.