After a tough start in NESCAC play, the Bates women’s basketball team entered last weekend in search of their first league win.
The Bobcats did themselves one better, spending Friday and Saturday beating up on their Maine rivals on the way to a 2-0 weekend and an outright sweep of CBB play.
On Friday, Bates traveled to Waterville to take on the Mules of Colby College. Much as they did early in the year, the Bobcats led throughout the game on their way to a 60-48 victory.
Although Colby kept things close for much of the first half, the Lady Cats broke the game wide open with a 19-5 run over the final five minutes of the first half. What had been a fairly even affair turned into a 39-17 blowout, and the rout was on.
Bates kept up the pressure in the second half, and cruised to the comfortable margin of victory.
The Bobcats were led by guards Meredith Kelly and Molly Brown, who put up 19 and 15 points, respectively.
Senior Brianna Hawkins added 12 points and a game-high 7 rebounds as the Bobcats dominated in nearly every statistical category in the victory.
After returning home for the night, the Bobcats then made the short trip to Brunswick. Whatever theatrics the matchup with Colby lacked were more than made up for in Saturday’s 67-64 win at Bowdoin.
Fresh off crossing the thousand-point plateau for her career, senior Allie Beaulieu poured in a career-high 26 points in the thrilling victory, while Molly Brown added 23 points of her own. Beaulieu and Brown combined for more than two-thirds of the Bobcats’ points on the day.
Bates started off hot in the first half, shooting 48% on their way to a 41-26 lead. Just as they did against Colby, the Bobcats used a run at the end of the first half to carry momentum into halftime. This time, it was a 16-5 run in the final six minutes of the half that provided the lopsided margin at the break.
However, the Polar Bears roared to life in the second half, and managed to slice the Bates lead to a single point with under a minute to play.
Bowdoin actually had two chances to win in the final seconds, but both shots missed and Beaulieu hit two free throws with under a second to play to provide the final margin of victory.
“It was great beating them earlier this season, but it was even better beating them when it really counted in NESCAC play” junior guard Meredith Kelly stated.
With the win, the Lady Bobcats improved to 8-7 on the season, including a 2-2 record in NESCAC play. Perhaps more importantly, the sweep of both rival Maine schools represents the first outright CBB title for the women’s basketball team in nearly a decade.
Bates will look to continue their recent string of success as they host Connecticut College in a NESCAC game on Friday at 8pm.