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Lesko tied career-best but UNH downs Bryant in home opener

Photo by: DSPics.com
Photo by: DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – New Hampshire's second-half push was the deciding factor as the Bryant University women's basketball team fell, 68-56, in its home opener on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Stephanie Lesko (Rumson, N.J.) tied her career-high as she led the Bulldogs with 13 points off the bench shooting three-for-seven from beyond the arc. Masey Zegarowski (Hamilton, Mass.) finished the game with a season-best 11 points, but the Bulldogs weren't able to hold off the Wildcats in crunch time.  

GAME INFORMATION
New Hampshire 68, Bryant 56
Records: Bryant 1-1, New Hampshire 1-1
Location: Chace Athletic Center

KEY MOMENT

  • New Hampshire's runs to start the third and fourth quarter pushed them past the Bulldogs. The Wildcats outscored Bryant, 39-21, in the second half as they shot a combined six-for-10 from three.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • New Hampshire came out the gate with a quick 7-2 run to start the game.
  • Brooke Bjelko (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) pulled down a rebound and pushed the outlet to Nicole Gallagher (Foxboro, Mass.). The rookie point guard strung a pass to Sydney Holloway (Morgantown, W. Va.) for a fast-break layup that fueled a 5-0 Bryant run to even the score at seven apiece.
  • Before the end of the quarter, Bjelko hit two consecutive layups followed by a three from Lesko before the buzzer. The Bulldogs concluded the first quarter with a five-point lead, 14-9.
  • The scoring went back and forth between both teams and tied at 19 with 5:18 to go in the second quarter.
  • After the media timeout, Zegarowski sank a pair of free throws followed by a spot-up three off a fast break to put the Bulldogs up two, 25-23.
  • Gallagher rounded out the half with a pair at the charity stripe to give Bryant a four-point cushion before heading to the locker room.
  • The Wildcats came out hot to start the second half with a 7-0 run to take back the advantage, 36-33, forcing a timeout. New Hampshire continued its run with four more points in just over a minute of play as head coach Mary Burke called a second timeout.
  • After the break, Bjelko ended the run with an offensive rebound and the putback as Bryant trailed, 40-35.
  • Holloway drove across the paint and found Lesko alone in the corner for an easy three-point bucket. Bryant ended the third quarter with a  5-2 run thanks to a layup and a three from Lesko, 51-47.
  • UNH started the fourth quarter in a similar fashion to how they started the third as the Wildcats jumped out to an 8-2 run to gain a 10-point lead.
  • Bryant trimmed New Hampshire's lead to eight in the fourth quarter thanks to a layup from Trinity Bravo (Bridgeport, Conn.), but the Wildcats' deemed too much from beyond the arc with a fourth-quarter .600 three-point percentage. UNH also outrebounded Bryant in the second half, 10-7, marking the only time during the entire game that the Wildcats outrebounded the Bulldogs.

STATS

  • Lesko led the team with 13 points off five-of-11 shooting and three-of-seven from three.
  • Zegarowski trailed with 11 points off three-of-eight shooting as the senior also pulled down five rebounds.
  • Bjelko notched 10 points and five rebounds in just 20 minutes of play.
  • Holloway led the Bulldogs on the boards with seven and contributed seven points.
  • Gallagher tallied four of her six points from the charity stripe during her first collegiate game at Chace. The rookie led with four assists.
  • Bravo was the second-leading rebounder for the Black and Gold with six as she went even with Holloway with seven points.
  • Bryant outrebounded New Hampshire, 36-28.
  • The Bulldogs shot 36.7 percent from the field compared to 48.2 percent from the Wildcats.

GAME NOTES

  • Lesko tied her career-high of 13 points that she first notched one year ago against Maine. Today was the first time in Lesko's career that she led the Black and Gold in scoring.
  • Holloway hit the 100-career steals milestone as she led the Bulldogs with three. She joins a list of just seven Bulldogs to reach triple digits in steals during Bryant's Division I era.
  • This is the second game in a row that the Bulldogs recorded three players scoring in double-digits.
  • Today's loss evens the all-time series record with UNH at four apiece. The Bulldogs have lost the last four meetings with the Wildcats since 2016.

UP NEXT
Bryant kicks off the first of four-straight road games to close out the month of November. The Bulldogs visit Vermont on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.