Howland's 22 points Leads Bears Past Springfield

Howland's 22 points Leads Bears Past Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –  Junior Alexi Howland knocked down a pair of free throws in the final second and finished with a season-high 22 points off the bench leading Coast Guard to a 65-61 win over Springfield in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic (NEWMAC) game.

Coast Guard improves to a 12-2 overall and 8-2 in the conference while Springfield drops to 5-5 in the NEWMAC and 9-6 overall.

Howland was 8 for 13 from the field and hit both of her two points attempts while going a perfect 4 for 4 from the foul line in the win.

Junior Dani Knox added 11 points and six rebounds also off the bench while junior Jamie Waterman also had six rebounds for the Bears. Junior Brittney Zimmerman had a team-high six assists.

Springfield was down by as much as 16 points in the second half, but came as close as two in the game's final minutes. Ava Adamopoulos was a spark off the bench in the second half, scoring 12 points in just 14 minutes. Adamopoulos converted 12-straight points to spark a 12-4 run that brought Springfield within five points in the last seven minutes of the game.

Jaimie Bickelhaupt scored a season-high 23 points for Springfield on 11-of-14 shooting, just one point shy of her career-high, which she achieved last season against Coast Guard. The junior added 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the year. The Pride shot an impressive 51.6% from the field in the second half, finishing the game 28-of-57 (49.1%), their highest shooting percentage of the season.

Coast Guard was led by Alexi Howland (Latham, N.Y.) who posted a team-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Dani Knox (Centreville, Va.) also scored in double digit figures, finishing with 11 points for the Bears. She also added six rebounds.

Bickelhaupt scored the opening basket of the second half for Springfield off a nice no-look feed in the paint from Andrea Moschetta. Adamopoulos was big for the Pride in the second half. The freshman scored on six-straight possessions, as Springfield went on a 12-4 run late in the game. Bickelhaupt brought the Pride within five points on an easy basket in the paint with five minutes to go. Coast Guard held a 51-46 lead.

After Adamopoulos' run, Bickelhaupt scored on three-straight possessions for the Pride from the four-minute mark to under two minutes left to play, making it a 57-54 game. Coast Guard's Meghan Fornaro sunk two free throws to bring the lead back up to five with 34 seconds left on the clock, but Moschetta answered back with two of her own to make it a 59-56 game.

With 14 seconds left to play, Riley Fake  knocked down a huge three-pointer to make it a 61-59 game, but Coast Guard was solid from the foul line, as Brittney Zimmerman hit four free throws in the game's final 24 seconds. Howland iced the game with two free throws with 0.5 on the clock to take a 65-61 lead.

Springfield out-rebounded the Bears, 37-35, but Coast Guard took advantage of 13 Springfield turnovers and shot 17-of-21 (81%) from the foul line, which proved to be the difference. Coast Guard shot 22-of-63 (34.9%) from the field and 4-of-15 (26.7%) from three. Springfield was 3-of-4 (75%) from the foul line and 2-of-9 (22.2%) from the perimeter.

In the first half, Bickelhaupt had the first six points of the game for the Pride. The junior tied it up, 6-6 for Springfield on a nice move in the paint, five minutes into the game.

After the Bears tied it up three times, Tamara Tribble put the Pride up 14-12 on a nice shot from under the basket with 10:47 left in the half.

It was back-and-forth for the first 10 minutes of the half, with eight ties and six lead changes, but with 9:52 on the clock, Coast Guard took the lead for good on a free throw by Howland to make it a 17-16 game. Coast Guard took its first double digit lead of the game off a basket in the paint from Fornaro with 5:03 to play in the first. Springfield brought it back down to eight on the next possession off a basket from Bickelhaupt, but Howland made it a 10-point game on the other end.

Lexi Windwer drained a three-pointer for the Pride with 3:52 left in the first to bring the Pride within seven points, making it a 30-23 game, but Coast Guard answered back with a Howland three-pointer two minutes later to make it a double digit game, 33-23. The Bears took a 35-25 lead into the locker room at the half.

"I'm proud of the team effort this morning," said Coast Guard head coach Alex Ivansheck. "We had great contributions off the bench, attacked and got to the free throw line. We did a fantastic job taking care of the ball. There were alot of distractions, but we remained focused for 40 minutes."

Coast Guard is back in action tomorrow when the Bears host Babson at 1 p.m. in a key NEWMAC game.

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