SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Julia Houghtaling (Franconia, NH) totaled 16 points and 13 rebounds as ninth-seeded Southern New Hampshire University outscored No. 8 seed Le Moyne College 34-16 in the second half en route to a 58-38 win in the first round of the Northeast-10 Women's Basketball Championship Sunday afternoon at Grant Court. The Penmen, who won their fourth in a row, improve to 18-10, while the Dolphins see their season come to a close at 15-13.
The win marks SNHU's first NE-10 Tournament win in program history since joining the league prior to the 2000-01 season. The Penmen advance to Tuesday's quarterfinals, where they will face NE-10 regular season champion and top seed Franklin Pierce University in a 7:00 road contest.
Houghtaling finished 6-9 from the floor while matching her career-high for rebounds. Alyssa Whitney (Somerville, MA) finished with 14 points on 6-12 shooting, while Megan Shay (Candor, NY) was 3-4 from three-point land and finished with nine points while also handing out four assists. Stephanie Houghton (Manchester, NH) added eight points for the Penmen.
Vanessa Holden led Le Moyne with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Courtney Coryea added 10 points and nine boards.
Southern New Hampshire clung to a 31-30 lead with just over 13 minutes to play following a three-pointer by Le Moyne's Danielle Felice. The Penmen would clamp down and allow just one Dolphin field goal over the next six minutes, and a three-pointer by Shay with 7:02 left capped a 15-2 run, giving SNHU a 46-32 lead. The guests allowed just four Le Moyne field goals over the final 13 minutes, and SNHU took its largest lead on a basket by Houghton with just under a minute left that made it 58-36.
Le Moyne trailed 24-22 at halftime and Holden tied the game a minute in on a layup that knotted the score at 24. The Dolphins took their first lead since 2-0 at the 16:40 mark on a three by Holden that put her team up 27-26. The lead was short-lived, as Whitney scored on SNHU's next possession 21 seconds later to give the Penmen the lead for good.
Siobhan Shields scored on the first possession of the game for Le Moyne, but Houghton would drain a three for SNHU on its first possession of the game. The Penmen led 7-2 and built a 17-6 lead at the 13:34 mark on a basket by Brooke Lefort (Cumberland, RI). The Dolphins trailed 21-12 with 8:31 left, but held the Penmen to just one field goal the rest of the half, a three by Christine Duffy (South Boston, MA) at the 3:47 mark, and pulled to within two, 24-22, at the break.
In a game pitting the top two defensive squads in terms of field goal percentage defense in the Northeast-10, the Penmen held Le Moyne to just 33.3% shooting for the game, including just 28% (7-25) in the second half. The Dolphins were just 3-17 behind the arc, while SNHU was 8-17 from long range and 41.5% from the floor overall. Le Moyne, which held a 33-31 rebounding advantage, was haunted by 24 turnovers, while Southern New Hampshire made a season-high 13 steals.
Franklin Pierce swept the regular season series with Southern New Hampshire, posting a 68-61 win in a game played at Keene State's Spaulding Gymnasium on December 6 and a 66-53 win at the SNHU Fieldhouse on January 29.
NOTES: The Penmen picked up their first postseason victory since a 92-90 overtime victory over Bridgeport in the first round of the 1998 New England Collegiate Conference Tournament...Southern New Hampshire improved to 15-4 when holding opponents under 40% from the floor and 12-3 when holding an opponent under 60 points...the win marks just the fourth for SNHU over Le Moyne in 27 meetings between the two teams...it is also the first time the Penmen have defeated the Dolphins in Syracuse...Southern New Hampshire is currently ranked No. 9 in the East Region.