CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College junior forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) netted a game-high 31 points and became the program's all-time leading scorer as the Blazers outlasted Bay Path College, 77-74 in Wednesday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Elms improves to 15-9 overall, 14-3 in NECC play, while Bay Path moves to 8-17 on the season, 7-11 in league action.
Parks passed Tenielle Hill to become the program's all-time leading scorer and has now amassed 1,628 points in her career.
In a game that was closely contested from start to finish, Elms held a 73-71 lead with 58 seconds to play in regulation following a layup by Bay Path's Kayla Skiffington (East Longmeadow, Mass.). Parks then hit a jumper to extend the lead to four with 46 seconds left, but Toni Alexander (Enfield, Conn.) answered with a trey to pull the Wildcats to within one at 75-74 with 40 seconds remaining. A Parks layup eight seconds later lifted the Blazers to a 77-74 cushion and Bay Path missed a three-point attempt with eight seconds left as the Blazers held on for a thrilling three-point victory.
Parks was 11 of 20 from the field and 9 of 13 from the free throw line en route to her 31 points. She added three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals in addition to pulling down 14 rebounds. Junior forward JC Pickett (Chicopee, Mass.) added 14 points and tied for the game-high in boards with 15 and also swatted four shots.
Freshmen guards Marissa Merrill (Meredith, N.H.) and Emily Burr (East Hartford, Conn.) each drained three three-pointers and finished with nine points each. Merrill and senior guard Ellen Donohue (Southington, Conn.) dished out three assists each.
Bay Path was led by Skiffington's 24-point, 15-rebound effort. Alexander was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc and finished with 17 points, while Katherine Chabot (Brookfield, Mass.) and Aaliyah Gordon (Springfield, Mass.) added 16 and 12 points respectively. Gordon chipped in nine boards, Alexander dished out five assists and Chabot notched four assists in the losing effort for the Wildcats.
In the first half, Bay Path connected on its first six field goal attempts and ran its lead out to as many as eight (20-12) when Chabot swished a three-pointer with 12:36 to play in the period.
Elms clawed back and evened the score at 35-35 on a Parks jumper with two ticks before intermission.
With the score set at 42-42 with 15:31 to play in the game, Elms went on a 16-4 run to open up a 12-point run capped by a Pickett layup at the 10:55 mark and set the score at 58-46. The run featured a pair of Merrill strikes from long distance and five points from Pickett.
Three Alexander three-pointers in the second half of the frame helped the Wildcats pull to within one (75-74) with 40 seconds left, but it was not enough as Elms held on for a hard-fought 77-74 win.
Bay Path outscored Elms, 40-34 in the paint and 23-20 in points off turnovers. Elms edged the Wildcats in second chance points, 19-14 and held a 54-45 advantage in rebounding.
Elms concludes regular season action on Saturday, February 22 when it hosts Newbury College at 1:00 p.m. at Picknelly Arena.