PAXTON, Mass – Tuesday night, the Lasers came in to Paxton looking to get their second win in conference on the year. Instead, they were met by an AMCAT team that fought and clawed their way to their first GNAC victory of the year, 58-54.
For the AMCATS, it was a career night for sophomore forward Hailey Moore (Worcester, Mass). Moore scored a career high 12 points, pulled down a career high 14 rebounds and blocked a career high 6 shots. All of which came in big spots for AMC. It was Moore's first career double-double as well. Coming off the bench to score 13 points, leading all AMCAT scorers, was graduate senior Johanna Burke (Oxford, Mass). Burke shot four-of-eight from the field and was four-for-four from the free throw line. Normally the high scorer, senior guard Kristina Russo (South Windsor, Conn) took on the role of facilitator Tuesday night as she doled out six assists while also scoring nine points and pulling down five rebounds. Joining Moore with double-digit rebounds was senior guard Maritza Gustave (Fall River, Mass) who grabbed 14 caroms, a career high, and also scored eight points for the home team.
The Lasers only had one scorer in double-digits, senior guard Morgan Church (New London, N.H.), who scored 17 points. Two players, junior forward Jaime Caron (Derry, N.H.) and freshman forward Meghan Carroll (Douglas, Mass), each scored eight for the Lasers. Sophomore forward Dana Ross (East Haven, Conn) was the leading rebounder for the visitors with eight.
This contest was very even from beginning to end. It opened with the Lasers scoring after the first minute and a half but the Lasers would only hold the lead in the quarter two other times, at the 6:00 mark and at the end of the quarter when they lead 16-14. Hailey Moore scored the first four points of the night for the 'Cats which game them their first lead of the night early in the first. From there the teams would trade buckets until Russo hit a three to give AMC a four-points lead with just over five to go in the quarter. The Lasers quickly took the lead back, going on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes, capped off by a basket from Ross. Scoring was scarce in the final few minutes as the quarter ended 16-14 in favor of the visitors.
The second quarter is where the Lasers tried to make a break for it, going on 7-2 run in the first two and a half minutes. Church scored five of the seven for Lasell including two free throws and a three pointer. The AMCATS quickly turned things around and pulled back within two following a three-pointer from senior guard Kayla Odegaard (Milton, Mass). Lasell answered by jumping back out to an eight-point lead with just over two minutes to play in the half. The AMCATS did answer the Laser run and reduced the deficit to four, 29-25, going in to the break.
After the half, It was good defense from the AMCATS while both offenses were having a tough time putting anything together. After Church nailed a three to give her team a seven-point advantage, junior center Shannon Hoffmiller (Oxford, Conn) and Russo combined for five points in twenty-five seconds to get the 'Cats back within four. After that, the Lasers were able to more than double their lead throughout the rest of the quarter as they went up nine heading in to the fourth period, 45-36.
In the fourth quarter the AMCATS did what they have done all season, played stingy defense. On other nights their offense has trouble following up that defense but tonight was not that night for the home team. The 'Cats struck first in the period with a three from Burke, then a jumper from Moore, followed up by a Gustave three-pointer in successive possessions. Though the Lasers were the first to hit the 50-point mark by way of a Church three-pointer, the AMCATS were right on their opponent's heels. The teams would exchange buckets before another Gustave three pulled Anna Maria within two points with 2:43 remaining in regulation. Neither team was able to score for the next two minutes, until a Laser foul sent freshman guard Franny Hammond (Worcester, Mass) to the line in one of the biggest spots in the game. Hammond, who only scored four points on the night, hit both shots to tie the game at 54 apiece with just 38 seconds to play. On the next Lasell possession, Johanna Burke grabbed a key steal at midcourt. She was fouled on the following offense play and went to the line for two more big free throws. As she made both the AMCATS took a two-point lead with just 31 seconds remaining. On the subsequent Laser possession, Morgan Church missed a jumper which was rebounded by Kristina Russo. With no other option, Chruch fouled her to send her to the line. Just like Hammond and Burke before her, the senior captain nailed both free throws with just four seconds remaining in the game. Lasell would dribble out the clock and Anna Maria walked away with their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference victory of the season, 58-54, in thrilling fashion.
Up next for the AMCATS will be a GNAC matchup on the road Thursday night at 7pm, in New Haven, Conn against Albertus Magnus College.
Click Here to view the box score from Tuesday's game.