NEWTON, Mass. (2/19/14) – The Lasell College women's basketball team claimed a key Great Northeast Athletic Conference victory, 69-61 over visiting Norwich University on Wednesday evening. The victory evened the Lasers record at 12-12 on the season and 5-5 in GNAC play while Norwich slipped to 13-11 for the year and 4-6 in conference action. The victory clinched the Lasers first ever GNAC tournament appearance, and guaranteed Lasell their first trip to postseason since the 06-07 season when they reached the North Atlantic Conference quarterfinals.
Molly Lauver (Cambridge, N.Y.) scored a season-high 24 points for the Lasers while adding eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. Katie Stopera (Hollis, N.H.) added 17 points for Lasell and Danielle Autencio (Montville, Conn.) chipped in nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Kelsey Lotti netted a team-high 24 points for Norwich converting 6-12 from three point territory while Aliah Curry finished with 20 points on 8-25 from the floor as the duo accounted for 44 of the visitors 61 points.
The two teams traded baskets through the opening minutes and Norwich opened up the biggest lead of the first half when they connected on three straight three point field goals to turn an 8-6 deficit into a 15-10 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half. Autencio answered with six consecutive points of her own followed by a jumper from Breanna Williams (Bloomfield, Conn.) to provide an 8-0 run for Lasell for an 18-15 advantage. Neither team led by more than three the rest of the way in the first half, and Lasell took a 37-35 lead into the intermission on a Katie Stopera transition basket with 30 seconds left in the half.
A Stopera trifecta to open the second half gave Lasell a five point cushion but Norwich responded with a 7-0 spurt capped by a Hannah Curler lay-in to take a 42-40 lead at the 13:15 mark. A Lauver three pointer put the Lasers back in front 43-42 and Lasell never trailed the rest of the way. The hosts lead bounced between one and five points as Lasell was never able to pull away, and Norwich was unable to get over the hump despite cutting the Lasers lead to a one possession margin five different times over the next 10 minutes of play. A pair of free throws by Lotti cut the Cadets deficit to 59-57 with two minutes to play. Lauver connected from deep again for the Lasers and then knocked down a pair from the charity stripe with just under a minute to push the Lasell lead to 66-59, and Lasell closed out the game at free throw line.
Lasell will honor their senior class on Saturday February 22nd at 1:00 p.m. when they play their final regular season game against St. Joseph's College of Maine.