FITCHBURG, MA – The Lasers tied the game with just 24 seconds left, but Fitchburg State sent senior Amy Fahey (Wilmington, MA) to the line to take the lead and then Madeline Merchant (Gardner, MA) iced the contest for the Falcons with a lay-up in the closing seconds. Freshman Justine Ryan (Norwood, MA) led Lasell with 18 points, but it was not enough as the women fell to the Falcons on the road 80-77.
Despite the close second half, Fitchburg State opened the game with an early lead, posting a double-digit advantage midway through the first half. Sophomore Laura Cote (Ashby, MA) led the Falcons first half efforts with 11 points and two rebounds, while classmate Meghan Secino (Leominster, MA.) added eight points and four boards in the frame.
The second half proved to be different as Lasell shot 41.9% from the field, hitting 13-of-31 from the field to march right back into the contest. The Lasers closed the scoring gap late in the first period, trailing by only two at intermission, but Lasell opened the second stanza with a strong 8-1 run to post its first lead of the night (45-40).
The Falcons responded though with an 8-2 run of their own, sparked by three Fahey buckets, to notch a 48-47 margin at the 15:30 mark. Both teams would trade leads for the remainder of the contest, totaling 12 lead changes throughout the period.
Over the final three minutes of play, neither team grabbed more than a one shot lead, with Fitchburg State holding a 72-71 advantage after a Cote free-throw at 2:49. Alexis Chappell (Springfield, MA) answered for the Lasers, rifling off four consecutive points for a three point lead with 2:15 remaining in regulation. Fahey brought the Falcons within one with a pair of free-throws and later sealed the contest after Kelsey Johnston (Shirley, MA) gave Fitchburg State the lead at the 1:14 mark.
Ryan (Norwood, MA) finished with a team-best 18 points for Lasell, while Chappell chipped in with a double-double effort of 16 points, 11 rebounds. Also scoring in double digits for the Lasers was Ashley Fry (South Kingston, RI) with 13 and Alysa O'Neill (Johnston, RI) with 12.
Fitchburg State (8-0, 0-0 MASCAC) will be back in action on Saturday as it hosts Western New England at 1 p.m. Lasell (0-8, 0-0 GNAC) will host Westfield State University on Thursday at 7 p.m.