SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Redshirt senior Naomi Ashley (Hamilton, Ont.) notched the game-winning basket in the final seconds to help the Bryant University women's basketball team outlast Wagner, 76-73, on senior night.
Ashley finished the game with seven points while junior Sydney Holloway (Morgantown, W.Va.) led the way with 20. Masey Zegarowski (Hamilton, Mass.) and senior Haley Connors (West Hartford, Conn.) also tallied double-figures adding 14 points each to help the Bulldogs finish fifth in the Northeast Conference at the conclusion of the regular season.
Bryant 76, Wagner 73
Records: Bryant 11-18 (9-9), Wagner 10-19 (8-10)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)
COACH BURKE'S COMMENTS
"What a great way to end the regular season and senior day on such a dramatic game," said head coach Mary Burke. "We had to show a big fight, and that's a core value of who we are, and I was so happy to see it and so proud of the players. To have that moment and do the things down the stretch that were necessary to win the game, that's character and that's pride. We have lost a few of those this year, so to be able to get one in this big dramatic moment, with standings on the line, was awesome. Also, to see that we did what it took to get it done and it took everyone."
- Wagner took control of the game by going on a 9-0 run to start the game.
- Before the end of the third quarter, Connors drained a three to put the Bulldogs within one, 56-55.
- Sophomore Brooke Bjelko (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) tied the game with 15 seconds to go after grabbing her own rebounds and putting it back in for two, 73-73.
- With under ten seconds to go on the clock, Ashley intercepted a pass and took it all the way to the rim for the game-winning basket.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After Meagan Bianchi (Brooklyn, Conn.) pulled up for the first basket of the game, Wagner took off on a 9-0 run to give the Seahawks the initial lead.
- Senior Kierra Palmer (Aberdeen, Md.) drove to the basket to draw the foul and sank both at the charity stripe. The free points put Bryant within three before Wagner outscored the Bulldogs, 13-6, to close out the first quarter with a ten-point lead, 24-14.
- Zegarowski found Connors for a quick three-pointer to bring Bryant within six with 4:26 still left to play in the second quarter, 30-24.
- Wagner's Khaleah Edwards knocked down a three to give the Seahawks a double-digit cushion before Ashley dumped it down low to Hannah Scanlan (Rumson, N.J.) to end the quarter, 38-30.
- Turnovers were key in the third quarter as Bryant converted all four of Wagner's turnovers into points. The Bulldogs accumulated nine points from turnovers.
- Ashley skipped the ball to Connors who was left wide open in the corner for a three-pointer that made it a one-point game, 56-55, at the end of the third quarter.
- Taylah Simmons led the Seahawks to a 6-0 run with 5:45 to go in the game to give Wagner a seven-point lead, 66-59.
- Bjelko was relentless on the boards grabbing her own offensive rebound and putting it back in to tie the game at 73 apiece with just 15 seconds to give.
- With under ten seconds to go, Ashley intercepted a pass in the backcourt and drove it all the way to the basket for the three-point, and one play to win the game, 76-73.
- Holloway led with 20 points shooting eight-of-17 from the field in a full 40 minutes of play.
- Bjelko was one basket shy of a double-double pulling down 10 rebounds and tallying eight points.
- Zegarowski and Connors both added 14 points. Zegarowski shot four-of-nine from the field and two-of-four from beyond the arc while Connors shot five-of-nine from the field and four-of-six for three.
- Ashley led with three steals while adding seven points, four rebounds and three assists.
- Both Bjelko and Palmer led the team with four assists. Palmer also chipped in five points, three rebounds, and two steals.
- Bryant outrebounded the Seahawks, 43-31.
- Holloway's 20-point performance is her 11th of the season.
- Bjelko marked a career-high with four assists.
- Bryant finishes the regular season as the fifth seed.
The Bulldogs claim the fifth spot at the end of regular season play and head to No. 4 Saint Francis U on Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m.