|Barrett, Aitken Lead Westfield State Women to League Crown|
|Westfield State Sports Information, |
06:38PM / Saturday, February 23, 2019
WORCESTER, Mass. – Senior Kierra McCarthy scored 22 points and classmate and tournament MVP Lucy Barrett added 20 more as Westfield State rallied from a 12-point deficit to win the 2019 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament championship game, 84-73 over top seeded Worcester State at the Brissette Court on Saturday.
With the win, the Owls claim their fourth straight MASCAC title and will earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament when the field is announced on Monday.
Westfield improves to 18-9 overall, while Worcester drops to 20-7.
The Owls trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, and were down 35-26 at the half.
Westfield exploded for 30 points in the third quarter.
The Owls hit back to back 3-pointers to open the second half and trimmed the lead to three 50-47 on a 3 by Pittsfield graduate Isabella Aitken, then tied it at 54-all on a layup by Mount Greylock grad Barrett late in the quarter. Westfield found its shooting touch from long range, connecting on 5 of 10 3-pointers in the period, including a pair from Aitken.
Worcester led 57-56 going into the 4th quarter.
An Allison Hester layup, followed by a Hester steal and layup gave the Owls a 64-61 with 8:06 left in the game to give the owls their first lead since the first quarter.
A Moussette steal and Barrett three point play with 5:10 to play gave Westfield a 73-67 advantage, then a McCarthy three point bomb put the Owls up 76-69. McCarthy stole the ball on the next possession to force a Worcester time out with 3:12 left. Another McCarthy 3 with 2:05 put the Owls up 79-71.
Barrett hit three of four free throws in the closing minutes to help put the game away, though her streak of 27 straight free throws made was broken.
Barrett finished with 20 points and six rebounds despite rolling an ankle in the first quarter. She scored 27 points in the Owls semifinal round win en route to tournament MVP Honors.
McCarthy scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds and three steals. The Owls got supporting scoring from Aitken, who netted a career-best nine in the biggest game of her collegiate career, and eight from senior guard Hester.
Kate Suprenant, led Worcester with 17 points, Kaitlyn Berkel added 16, and the Owls limited 6-1 Lancers center Brittany Herring to 11 points and 10 rebounds after the post player went for 32 and 15 in the previous meeting between the two teams.
Worcester State grabbed a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter, closing the half with a 7-2 spurt in the final 2:32. The Owls shooting woes at the Brissette Court continued, just 5-20 in the opening frame and 1-11 from three point range.
Worcester State led 35-26 at the half behind 10 points each from Surprenant, Berkel and Cutting. The Lancers built the lead to as many as 12 on several occasions, but a 3-pointer from Aitken with 16 seconds left trimmed the lead down to nine at the break.
The Owls forced the Lancers into 13 turnovers in the half, but committed 10 of their own. McCarthy led Westfield at the half with seven points.
Barrett and McCarthy have combined for 2,552 career points, the most by any pair of classmates in Owls history.
Westfield will earn their seventh NCAA tourney bid and fifth under 14-year head coach Andrea Bertini ‘96.