NEW LONDON, Conn.—Sophomore Torie Sutherland had a game-high 16 points as Coast Guard remained unbeaten winning its school-record seventh straight to open the season with a 39-35 win over host Connecticut College in a non-conference game between the two New London schools.
The Bears finish the first semester a perfect 7-0 on the season while the Camels drop to 4-5 overall.
The Camels made just one of their first seven field goals in the second half and trailed 29-20 following a basket by Coast Guard senior Kaitlin Ward with 15:15 left before sophomore Jenna Lovett's back-to-back layups triggered an 8-1 run to cut the deficit to 30-28 with 10:59 left.
The teams each scored just two baskets each over the next seven plus minutes as the Bears maintained a 34-32 edge.
Fornaro hit a 3-pointer, the first points for either team in exactly five minutes, as the Bears took a 37-32 lead with 3:34 left in the game.
Conn. College senior Tara Gabelman, the Camels leading scorer, who had six consecutive double-doubles entering the game, made her first hoop of the night with 1:44 left to make the score 37-34.
Coast Guard missed the front end of a one-and-one before Gabelman knocked down one-of-two free throws with 14.2 seconds left cutting the deficit to 37-35.
Junior Alexi Howland made one-of-two from the foul line and got her own rebound before again making one-of-two with 8.9 seconds left to ice the game.
"It wasn't the prettiest game and it was not the most crisp that we have ever been, but I thought for the most part we were focused and our hustle made up for the little mistakes that we made," said Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck. "It feels good to be unbeaten at the break, it's definitely earned and they have worked hard for that, but this isn't it. It is such a long season, 7-0 is great and we will celebrate tonight and then tomorrow we are focusing on our games in January."
Howland and sophomore Meghan Fornaro each had seven points in the win for the Bears. Junior Brittney Zimmerman and Ward led the way with eight rebounds each and Fornaro finished with seven boards.
Sophomore Jenna Lovett led Conn. College with ten points off the bench while senior Tara Gabelman, who was held to just five points, had a game-high 11 rebounds.
Both teams struggled offensively as Coast Guard shot 22 percent from the floor (13-59) and made 5 of 16 from 3-point range while the Camels shot 25.9 percent from the field (14-54) and made just one of ten from behind the arc.
Conn. College held a 50-43 edge on the glass, but turned the ball over 22 times while the Bears turned it over 14 times.
Sutherland knocked back-to-back 3-pointers as the Bears jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first five minutes of the game.
"It was huge right from the get go to get out to a lead, but also to keep them from scoring for so long. I think that was key and gave us the confidence that we needed for the 40 minutes," said Ivansheck.
Howland hit a 3-pointer with 12:09 left to give the Bears a 13-4 lead, but each team would make just two baskets each over the next ten minutes and Coast Guard led 19-11 following a bucket by Sutherland with 2:38 left in the first half.
Sutherland had 13 of the Bears 22 first half point, making 3 of 4 from behind the arc, as Coast Guard led 22-15 at halftime.
Coast Guard shot 24.2 percent in the first half (8-33) while making 4 of 11 from 3-point range. The Camels were 6 of 25 in the first half (24 percent) making just one of six from 3-point range.
This was the final game of the semester for the Bears, who are off until January 2nd when they host Curry at 7 p.m.