Defensive Stand Pushes Union Past St. Lawrence, 55-53

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – A block at the buzzer by senior Nicole Conley denied a game-tying chance for St. Lawrence University as the Union College women's basketball team once again prevailed in the fourth quarter to pull out a thrilling 55-53 win on Saturday afternoon at the Viniar Athletic Center.
Conley had a relatively quiet game offensively for Union (8-3 3-2 Liberty League), recording 13 points, but still made her presence felt with eight rebounds, five blocks and four steals. Classmate Sophie Borg and junior Elly Vaughan both scored 12 points for the home team, with Vaughan adding three blocks and Borg chipping in six rebounds as well.
In a back-and-forth battle between two evenly matched teams, it was appropriate that the game came down to one final possession. Down by two with a chance to tie, St. Lawrence got the ball in the front court with 12 seconds left and had a look at the hoop, but Conley used all her length to get a hand on a three attempt from Erin Kumler and secure the victory.
Union came out strong in the first quarter, outscoring St. Lawrence (6-7, 3-3 Liberty League) by a 14-6 margin to grab an early lead. After the Saints opened the scoring, junior Joana Santos scored five straight points to start a 9-0 run that ended with back-to-back jumpers from Vaughan and Conley. The Dutchwomen kept the visitors off balance with some strong defense, forcing eight turnovers and blocking five shots, including two on the first possession of the game.
St. Lawrence came back to outscore Union by eight in the second quarter, as the teams headed into the half tied at 22. The visitors scored the first 12 points of the stanza to take an 18-14 lead with 4:50 remaining, but Borg had two buckets as part of an 8-2 run that got the Dutchwomen back to even after 20 minutes.
Borg and freshman Laura Vinton helped to carry the Dutchwomen in the third quarter, combining for 10 of the team's 14 points to keep the home team close.
Union scored the first six points of the fourth frame to regain the lead, with baskets by Vaughan, Conley and Vinton putting the Dutchwomen up 42-38 with 8:15 left. The lead was built up to as many as seven (49-42) after a Conley three with 5:30 left and the team looked to be in good shape after a Vaughan bucket made the score 55-48 with 1:25 on the clock. However, two missed free throws and a pair of missed shots set the stage for the final stand that allowed Union to escape with the win.
Having completed its five-game homestand, Union will head onto the road for the next five Liberty League contests, beginning the road trip on Tuesday at Bard College starting at 5 p.m.