NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Senior Heather LeBlanc (Sanford, Maine) scored a career-high 33 points on Thursday, helping the Norwich University women's basketball team to a 64-52 win over Anna Maria College in Andrews Hall.
The Cadets move to 7-2 all-time against the AMCATS, improving to 9-6 overall on the year and to 5-3 within the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Anna Maria falls to 0-8 against league competition, dipping to 2-13 overall on the season.
LeBlanc was 13-for-15 from the floor, scoring 33 points and narrowly missing a double-double with nine rebounds. Junior Arianna Harrison (Vernon, Vt.) reeled in 13 of her team's 49 rebounds, leading the way while also tabulating half of her team's 16 assists, setting a career-high in helpers.
By shooting .867 from the floor, LeBlanc set the program record for the highest field goal percentage with at least 10 field goals made – the previous program record was set by Allison Flynn '06 as she shot .857 from the floor after making 12-of-14 shots. Additionally, LeBlanc's .867 field goal percentage is the seventh-best all-time by those who made a minimum of eight baskets.
Senior Kayla Mercer (New Britain, Conn.) posted 10 points and junior Shyann Josler (Thetford Center, Vt.) scored eight points and seven rebounds alongside three assists and two takeaways. Mercer joined Harrison by playing all 40 minutes for the Cadets in the game.
In a game that saw five lead changes, the Cadets opened up an 18-10 lead at the end of the first quarter following seven-straight Norwich points down the stretch. A made free throw by LeBlanc only 1:22 into the second quarter would elevate Norwich to a game-high 12-point lead before back-to-back AMCATS triples would shrink the hosts lead to six points.
Ahead by six points late in the first half, Anna Maria used a Nicole Mareiro three-point basket and a foul shot late to set the halftime score at 26-24, Norwich. The Cadets shot only 21.6% (8-for-37) in the opening 20 minutes, but scored all 18 of the game's second-chance points to maintain the slim halftime advantage over Anna Maria.
With the score tied at 39 with 3:19 left in the third quarter, Christina Gauvin of the AMCATS made a clutch layup and a Hailey Moore free throw would create a 42-39 lead for Anna Maria. The AMCATS, however, would later be issued a technical foul that would turn the game on its head completely.
The Cadets elected to have LeBlanc shoot the technical free throws and she cut into the lead with two clutch makes. Mercer, who was originally fouled prior to the technical, put the Cadets into the lead for good with back-to-back free throws to elevate Norwich to a 43-42 lead. A clutch three-point basket by LeBlanc down the stretch would create a four-point advantage for the Cadets, 46-42, entering the final 10 minutes of action.
Norwich would cruise to the 12-point victory by controlling play in the fourth quarter, using the momentum from the technical foul and the four-straight free throws made to capture the victory. On the game, Norwich would out-rebound the AMCATS by a 49-to-31 margin and scored 30 points on second-chance opportunities.
Gauvin led Anna Maria with 18 total points, shooting 8-for-15 from the floor. Deja Taitt had a solid game for the AMCATS, tallying 15 points while regularly making clutch baskets late on the fast break.
Norwich returns to action this Saturday, Jan. 21, taking on Rivier University in a GNAC contest in Nashua, N.H.