PAXTON, Mass – Saturday afternoon, the Rivier University Raiders made the trip to Paxton to take on the AMCATS in the Fuller Center. The game also marked Senior day for four Anna Maria women's basketball players playing their final game in an AMC uniform under head coach Kevin Bigelow.
For the AMCATS, it was two of those seniors leading the way. Senior guard Kristina Russo (South Windsor, Conn) led all AMCATS scorers with 14 points on the day. She added seven boards for her team as well. Recording a double-double in the game was senior guard Maritza Gustave (Fall River, Mass), who scored 12 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. The other two graduating seniors included senior guard Kayla Odegaard (Milton, Mass) who scored nine points for her team, as well as grad student Johanna Burke (Oxford, Mass) who grabbed six rebounds for the home team while scoring three points.
On the other end, the Raiders were led by junior guard Kaylee Kacavas (Dracut, Mass) who scored a game-high 34 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds for the double-double. Kacavas shot 11-for-22 from the field and was nine-for-10 from the free throw line. Rivier had two other players in double digits as junior forward Lizzy Meehan (Nashua, N.H.) scored 12 points and junior forward Megan Hamel (Colebrook, N.H.) scored 10 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for a double-double.
The scoring started off slowly for both teams in the first quarter. In the first two plus minutes of play Rivier scored four points while the AMCATS remained scoreless. Over a seven-and-a-half-minute span the Raiders went on a 12-4 run as AMC shooters were unable to find the bottom of the net. From that point to the end of the first 10 minutes, shots started to fall for the hosts as they ended the quarter on an 8-5 run, trailing Rivier, 17-10, at the end of the first.
The second quarter started much like the first. Scoring came at a premium as both teams played stellar defense and no shots were dropping. With the clock reading 3:38 left in the period the Raiders saw themselves out to a 14-point lead, 27-13, as they had only scored 10 points to the AMCATS three over that six plus minute span. In the quarter the AMCATS would only score eight points and Riv would eventually double their first quarter total as the teams went in to the half time break with a 34-18 score in favor of the visitors.
In the third period, the AMCATS came out hot, clearly trying to erase any deficit quickly. A few foul shots by Russo and Burke, as well as a three from Odegaard, pulled the home team back within ten points with 6:30 left to play in the period. Though the 'Cats were able to keep it relatively close over the new few minutes and match the points quarter total of the Raiders, Rivier was able to maintain the 16-point lead, 50-34, as this one went to the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was more Rivier scoring and the AMCATS trying to play keep up. Overall, the hosts were never able to close the deficit that the Raiders had handed them and at the end of 40 minutes Rivier had found their third win of the season, second in conference, 69-49, over Anna Maria.
Up next for the AMCATS will be a trip to Northfield, Vermont on Tuesday evening to take on the Cadets of Norwich University.