WESTON, Mass. – The #10 regionally-ranked Regis College women's basketball team are headed back to the NCAA Division III Tournament after winning their fourth straight New England Collegiate Conference title game 60-38 over Newbury College Saturday afternoon in a packed Higgins Court.
The Pride wrap up their successful campaign at 24-3 overall, winning the most games out of any team in program history and have earned the NECC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson and Gold find out their opponent on Monday afternoon when the NCAA Selection Show goes live at 2:30 p.m. on NCAA.com.
Junior Amanda Hawkesworth (Abington, Mass.) was named the NECC Tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by frontcourt partner Brittany Stone (West Bridgewater, Mass.). Newbury's Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) and Katelyn Roeser (Nashua, N.H.) were also named to the All-Tournament Team, with Mitchell College's Diamond Thomas (Hartford, Conn.) and Elms College's Mackenzie LaRochelle (Chicopee, Mass.) rounding out the selections.
Regis' defense held Newbury to 12-of-55 (21.8%) shooting and outrebounded the guests 47-20 on the boards. The Pride converted 23-of-43 (53.5%) of their attempts from the hardwood and never trailed in the contest.
Regis came out of the gates fast just like their NECC Semifinals match. The hosts used an early 8-0 run over the first two minutes of the contest with a Hawkesworth layup, an Alyssa Lanpher (Princeton, Mass.) free throw, a Mikayla Murphy (Attleboro, Mass.) three-pointer and another basket by Hawkesworth.
Both squads missed opportunities over the next four minutes of the quarter before Nighthawks Head Coach Nate Stailey took a 30 second timeout. The stoppage worked in favor of the visitors as Savannah Olsen got Newbury off the schneid with a layup from underneath. Regis responded with six straight points including a baseline jumper from Shannon Hayes (Billerica, Mass.) to put Regis up 14-2 early on. Newbury added four more points including a Roeser floater as time expired to head into the second stanza down 10, 16-6.
The Pride defensive unit held the Nighthakws to 2-of-14 (14.3%) shooting during the first quarter. Hawkesworth racked up eight of her game-high 20 points in the opening 10 minutes.
An 8-2 Pride mini-run opened up the game and gave the hosts their largest lead of the first half. Stone scooped a layup off the top of the square, Brandi Bonneau (Derry, N.H.) drove the baseline for an easy two, Stone made another post layup after being triple teamed by defenders and Hawkesworth buried a jumper from the high post.
Regis and Newbury traded buckets heading into the break with Roeser making a shot from behind the arc to head into the intermission with the Pride up 25-13.
Newbury got back within 10 after a steal by Isabelle Pafford (Greenland, N.H.), Oslen made two freebies to trim the Regis lead to 10. The Crimson and Gold used an 11-0 run spanning four minutes to separate themselves from the Nighthawks. Shannon Hayes was on point during the run as she knocked down two jumpers off screens and Hawkesworth and Stone made two layups apiece.
The Pride kept their foot on the gas and went up by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter after a Maura Russell (Braintree, Mass.) three pointer to give Regis their unprecedented fourth straight conference championship.
Hawkesworth was 9-of-13 (69.2%) from the floor during the contest while snagging four rebounds. Brittany Stone recorded a double-double with 12 points and a game-best 11 caroms. Shannon Hayes was 3-of-3 (100%) on her shot attempts in nine minutes of play. Mikayla Murphy had an all-around game with three points, four rebounds and a game-high six assists.
Katelyn Roeser led the Nighthawks with 15 points while Savannah Olsen added 10 points on 6-of-8 (75%) free throw shooting and grabbed a team-best four boards.