WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Regis College used aggressiveness at both ends of the court, causing 23 turnovers by the University of St. Joseph and earning 31 free throw attempts to defeat the Blue Jays, 58-48, Saturday afternoon in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference women's basketball game at the O'Connell Center.
With the victory, Regis finishes the regular season in a tie for fifth place in the GNAC standings but will be the sixth seed in the conference tournament as Anna Maria prevailed in the tiebreaker with its victory over the Pride Jan. 17.
Arie Searcy (Santa Rosa, Calif.) shot 8-of-15 from the field as she notched her first career double-double with a season-high 18 points along with 10 rebounds. Nikki Bitinaitis (Cromwell, Conn.) went 10-of-12 from the free throw line as she finished with 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, and four steals, while Katryna Veasey (Quincy, Mass.) contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
Searcy scored the first four points of the game, and Sam D'Angelo (Woburn, Mass.) followed with a layup as Regis jumped out to a 6-0 lead before St. Joseph finally broke through four-and-a-half minutes into the game. Another layup by Searcy extended the Pride advantage to 10-2, and Regis would eventually take a 12-6 lead into the second quarter.
After a jumper by Lindsey Montminy closed the St. Joseph deficit to three at 16-13 late in the second quarter, Veasey scored four straight points for the Pride, and Regis held a 22-17 lead at halftime. D'Angelo scored four points as part of an 8-0 Pride scoring run in the first three minutes of the third quarter to increase the Regis lead to 30-17.
St. Joseph (3-22, 0-12 GNAC) fought back in the final two minutes of the third quarter, starting with three-pointers from Devona Kinsey and Shaniyah Williams as part of an 8-2 scoring run to close the Regis lead to eight at 39-31 at the end of the quarter. A 7-2 scoring run for St. Joseph early in the fourth quarter brought the Blue Jays within three at 41-38, but baskets by Searcy and Bitinaitis extended the Pride lead back to seven.
The Blue Jays made one final push, cutting their deficit to four at 52-48 thanks to a three-pointer by Raelynn Voislow and a layup from Cheyenne-Mone Smith. However, Regis held St. Joseph scoreless over the final two minutes of the game while Searcy converted a traditional three-point play and Bitinaitis went 3-for-4 from the free throw line in the last minute.
Silvana Barcomb led the Blue Jays in scoring with 14 points, Smith ended up with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocked shots, and Montminy contributed eight points along with a team-high 10 rebounds. As a team, St. Joseph shot 34.6 percent (18-of-52) from the field, including 4-of-10 from behind the three-point line, and 66.7 percent (8-of-12) from the free throw line.
The Pride shot 37.8 percent (17-of-45) from the field and 77.4 percent (24-of-31) from the free throw line, tying their season high for most made free throws in a single game. Regis won the rebounding battle, 37-31, and scored 17 points off 23 USJ turnovers, but the Blue Jays earned 22 points off 19 Regis turnovers.
Regis (11-14, 7-5 GNAC) will head to New Haven, Conn., to face third seed Albertus Magnus in the quarterfinals of the GNAC Women's Basketball Tournament Tuesday, Feb. 19, beginning at 6 p.m. The Falcons finished the regular season 22-3 overall, including 10-2 in the GNAC, and defeated the Pride last Saturday, Feb. 9, in Weston, Mass., 72-60.