HOLYOKE, Mass. – Elms College junior forward Erika Murphy (Torrington, Conn.) notched a game-high 13 points and a game-best 11 rebounds to help propel the Blazers to a convincing 74-54 victory over Bay Path College in Saturday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball game at Holyoke Community College.
With the win, Elms improves to 3-8 on the season, 1-1 in league action, while Bay Path slides to 0-10 overall, 0-2 in NECC play.
Elms built an early five-point lead over the first 4:11 before Bay Path's Symone Watson (Hampden, Conn.), Sam Hahn (Hadley, Mass.) and Justine Hook (Berwick, Pa.) registered layups to highlight a 6-0 rally that gave the Wildcats a 9-8 advantage at the 12:01 mark.
A Murphy jumper with 11:14 on the clock ignited a furious rush of offense for the Blazers as Elms scored 25 points over the final 9:46 of the first half and limited Bay Path to just five points during that stretch to post a 33-14 lead at intermission.
Blazers' freshman guard Taylor Darby (Bristol, Conn.) netted eight of her 11 points in the stanza including a pair from beyond the arc, while Murphy added seven points and junior guard Katie Condon (Sandy Hook, Conn.) dropped in five in the opening 20 minutes.
Leading 47-26 with 11:35 to play in the game, Elms used a 12-4 run started by a sophomore guard Jen Normandie (Westford, Mass.) layup and capped by a freshman forward Nicolette Martin (Colchester, Conn.) free throw at the 8:32 mark to stake a 31-point 61-30 lead over Bay Path – its largest lead of the game.
The Wildcats answered with a 14-3 run to pull to within 20 at 64-44 with 5:20 to play after Brittney Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) swished a three, and cut the lead back to 20 at 74-54 following a Katie Begin (Weare, N.H.) field goal with 37 seconds left but it was not enough as neither team scored again giving the Blazers a 20-point victory.
Murphy added seven assists and four steals in addition to her 13 points, while Normandie totaled 12 points in the winning effort. Darby and freshman guard Ellen Donohue (Southington, Conn.) sank 11 points each while freshman guard Emily Boucher (Ashburnham, Mass.) contributed 10 points to highlight five Blazers in double figures.
Normandie and Condon each added four steals, while Normandie hauled in eight boards.
Alexander led Bay Path's offense with 14 points on 6 of 12 shooting, while Hook hit on 5 of 8 attempts to score 13 points. Taylor Riley (Colchester, Vt.) added 10 points in the losing effort.
Elms returns to NECC action Tuesday, Jan. 11 when it travels to Leicester, Mass. to take on Becker College. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m.