Women's Basketball Holds Off Utica 58-50 in Empire 8 Opener

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             ONEONTA, NY – A crucial 17-4 second-half run allowed the Hartwick College women's basketball team to get past visiting Utica on Tuesday night at Lambros Arena by a final score of 58-50 in the Empire 8 Conference opener for both teams. The Hawks held a slim 41-38 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in the game but 'Wick converted on its next three possessions to build a 10-point edge and it never led by less than eight the rest of the way.
            With the victory, Hartwick increases its win streak to six games. The Hawks are now 6-1 on the season. The Pioneers fall to 3-4 overall and 0-1 in the league standings.
            Hartwick received a career-best 15 points from freshman forward Brittney Dumas (Easton, CT/Joel Barlow HS). She added five rebounds and three assists. Junior guards Maria Foglia (Rensselaer, NY/Catholic Central) and Kate Purcell (Buffalo, NY/Mt. Mercy Academy) each netted 12 points for 'Wick. Freshman forward Taylor Vonasek (Willington, CT/E.O. Smith) contributed career-highs of eight points and 10 rebounds.
            The Hawks began the game on a blistering pace as they scored on their first six of nine shots to open up a 14-2 lead. 'Wick's half-court pressure defense gave the Pioneers problems in the early going as they turned the ball over six times in the first five minutes.
            Hartwick held a comfortable lead of 10 points, 20-10, with less than six minutes to play in the half, but Utica would spend the next six minutes on a 14-4 run to tie the game at 24-24. A Foglia three-pointer with six seconds to go snapped a 12-minute basketless drought for the Hawks and they led 27-24 at the break.
            Early in the second half, back-to-back layups from UC center Meghan Fiore briefly gave the Pioneers the lead, 30-27. A jumper from Foglia tied the score with 17:19 to play and another from Dumas 39 seconds later would give the hosts the edge for the rest of the game.
            Hartwick built a seven-point advantage, 41-34, with 12:23 on the clock after a Foglia basket and free throw, but two straight buckets from the Pioneers closed the gap to three, 41-38, with 10:12 remaining. On the Hawks' next possession, Foglia cleaned up the offensive glass and converted a layup and Dumas sank a basket and free throw on 'Wick's next touch. After a defensive stop, Sammy Villarini (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) drained a jumper and the Hawks had seven points in two minutes and a 10-point lead, 48-38.
            After UC converted at the other end, Villarini knocked down a three-pointer to make the score 51-40 only to have Bridget Greenwald put in a layup for UC. But the Hawks would pull away again with another seven consecutive points to go up 16 with just over two minutes left. Baskets by Dumas, Vonasek, and a three-pointer from Purcell put the Blue and White up by a 58-42 margin. Five straight points with under 47 seconds left got the score closer for the visitors in the 58-50 Hartwick win.
            The Hawks shot 35.5% (22-of-62) in the game, slightly better than the Pioneers who made 19-of-57 shots (33.3%). Utica, which out-rebounded the Hawks by a 42-38 margin, received 10 points and a game-high 19 boards from Greenwald. Fiore and Alyssa Filkins each finished with 10 points each.
            Purcell ended the contest with a game-high four three-pointers. She also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out two assists, and added two steals. Foglia pulled down five rebounds, and delivered a season-high seven assists.
            Tracey Koch (Glenmont, NY/Bethlehem) finished with six points for Hartwick to go along with four first-half steals. Villarini closed the night with five points.
            Hartwick next plays on Friday night in Canton, NY. The Hawks play at St. Lawrence University with game time slated for 6 p.m.