WEST HARTFORD, Conn.— The Norwich University women's basketball team used lock-down defense and a torrid fourth-quarter scoring spree to pick up its first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) win as the Cadets downed University of St. Joseph (Conn.) 44-28 inside the O'Connell Center Saturday afternoon.
Junior guard Riley Bennett (Hopkinton, N.H.) led all scorers with 21 points (8-16 FG), hitting a series of tough midrange shots at the end to clinch the win. Junior forward Kailynne Frederick (Adams, Mass.) was dominant inside, scoring six points and grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds. The Cadets welcomed back sophomore guard Sandra Carlsten (Bandhagen, Sweden) who helped kick start the offense with 11 points. Silvana Barcomb led the way for the Blue Jays with 10, the only player in double figures.
Norwich once again relied on its stifling defense throughout the game holding the Blue Jays to a season-low 18 percent (10-of-55) from the floor.
St. Joseph held a narrow 9-7 lead after one quarter, finishing the period on a 7-0 run, five of which came from junior captain Raelynn Voislow. Both teams put out their best defensive effort from the get-go holding their counterparts to around 20 percent from the field.
The second quarter continued to be a back-and-forth affair featuring two lead changes and four ties throughout the period. Bennett and senior guard Sara Bradley (Sunnyside, N.Y.) combined for 10 of the team's 11 points helping the Cadets keep the game all square at 18-18 at the break.
The stalemate continued in the second half with both offenses struggling to find any consistency. Bennett scored all eight points for the Cadets in the third to take a 26-23 lead into the fourth.
This physical back-and-forth tussle was tied at 28 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, the Cadets ended the game on a 16-0 run as Carlsten used the first three quarters to get her legs under her after a lengthy absence from game action and got hot late getting the run started with a jumper at the 5:46 mark. Carlsten and Bennett combined for 14 of the final 16 points to secure the team's first win of 2020 snapping a five-game losing streak.
The Cadets enjoyed a 50-37 edge on the glass outrebounding the Blue Jays thanks in large part to Frederick's career-best performance. The team also took advantage of USJ's miscues scoring 17 points off of its 16 turnovers.
Norwich will return to the comfy confines of Andrews Gym on Tuesday as it continues its conference schedule with a matchup against Emmanuel starting at 7:30 p.m.