MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth claimed its first NCAA Division III Tournament win in program history on Friday, reversing course against La Roche College in the second quarter to muscle out a 71-64 victory in the First Round at the Panzer Athletic Center. The Corsairs will meet No. 11 Montclair State in Saturday's Second Round competition at 5 p.m.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 71, La Roche 64
Records: UMass Dartmouth (23-5) | La Roche (23-5)
How it Happened
UMass Dartmouth sophomore Nakira Examond (New Bedford, Mass.) generated her 11th double-double of the season to lead all scorers, bouncing back after a slow start for 23 points (11-of-15 from the field) and 15 rebounds. Her fellow forward, junior Alicia Kutil (Franklin, Mass.) played a key role in the Corsairs' 20-8 second quarter, finishing with 18 points and seven boards. Senior Rachel McCarron (Groton, Mass.) rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points, followed by junior Leah Douty's (Framingham, Mass.) nine.
For the Redhawks, senior TiChina Mitchell (Woodbridge, Va.) generated a team-high 19 points on a nearly perfect 7-of-8 from the field. Classmate Sabrina McLin (Cleveland, Ohio) chipped in 17 points, and senior Mackenzie O'Donnell (Butler, Pa.) posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double.
The momentum began in favor of the quick-paced La Roche offense. McLin was hot early, dropping eight of her teams' first 11 points including two 3-pointers through the first five minutes. At 3:38 in the first quarter, Darrian Johnson (New Castle, Pa.) put La Roche up 17-7 with another long-range basket. The Redhawks secured eight total points off UMass Dartmouth turnovers in the opening stanza to go up as much as 11 to close the opening 10 minutes.
UMass Dartmouth then completely turned the tides, dialing up the defense in the second quarter. Kutil registered the first six points with La Roche unable to find the hoop, kicking off the 20-8 run over the quarter. McCarron put in back-to-back baskets at 3:49 to narrow the deficit to 25-24, and on the ensuing possession, Examond was there to give the Corsairs their first and last lead. After another Mitchell 3-pointer, the Corsairs carried a 32-31 advantage into halftime with La Roche surrendering nearly half of its total turnovers in the second quarter alone.
For the remainder of the contest, UMass Dartmouth kept the Redhawks in check. La Roche challenged throughout, cutting within one possession on numerous occasions but the Corsairs consistently answered. Midway through the third quarter, Douty extended a three-point lead into a six-point margin with a 3-pointer and layup on back-to-back possessions.
Following a five-point margin to begin the fourth, a 57-55 Corsair lead built back to six on quick McCarron and Examond layups. With just 1:12 remaining, Mitchell hit her third 3-pointer of the game to again cut La Roche within three, but a timely Chelsea Houlihan (Wolcott, Conn.) defensive board and foul shots kept the Redhawks tethered.
Inside the Numbers
- UMass Dartmouth rises to 17-0 on the season when shooting above 40 percent on the full game, as the Corsairs converted 47 percent (27-of-57) from the field on Friday.
- The Corsairs finished with 44 points in the paint to La Roche's 26, and out-rebounded the Redhawks 41-33. Friday is the 23rd time on the season that UMass Dartmouth has out-rebounded its opponent.
- UMass Dartmouth snaps La Roche's 16-game win streak, as the Redhawks advanced to their seventh-consecutive NCAA Division III Championship out of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference this year.
- Friday is the first time in program history that La Roche and UMass Dartmouth have met on the hardwood; additionally, the Corsairs now sit 1-1 on neutral courts this season.
- UMass Dartmouth is now 5-0 on the season when returning to the court after losses.
UMass Dartmouth advances to Saturday's Second Round against pod host Montclair State at 5 p.m. The No. 11-ranked Redhawks enter the contest 26-2 overall and in the midst of an eight-game win streak after downing Westfield State 81-71 on Friday evening.