Strong Fourth Quarter Propels Nighthawks Past Gators, 79-71

Strong Fourth Quarter Propels Nighthawks Past Gators, 79-71

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Trailing by five entering the fourth, Nighthawks junior Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) carried the Nighthawks, scoring 17 of the teams 22 fourth quarter points, en route to an eight point, come back victory, 79-71, over the Pine Manor Gators on Wednesday evening in the first game of the new year for both teams.

Olsen had her struggles in the first three quarters, scoring two points on 1-of-8 from the field in the first 23 minutes played. However, in her final nine minutes of the game, Olsen shot 6-for-7 and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Olsen finished the night with 19 points. Freshman Jaymesha Sanders (West Haven, Conn.) was again impressive, scoring a career-high 24 points while pulling down 16 rebounds. Freshman Tatianna Occena (Spring Valley, N.Y.) finished with 12 points on 12-of-16 shooting at the foul line.

Gators senior Erica Jones (Atlanta, Ga.) matched the game-high with 24 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Senior Shaquanda Middleton (Savannah, Ga.) finished with a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Shaneka Monroe (Jersey City, N.J.) added 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Neither side would budge in the first half as the largest lead was five in the opening 20 minutes. In the first half, Sanders and Jones provided much of the offense for their respective teams. The Nighthawks got 20 points from Sanders on 6-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. Jones answered for the Gators, scoring 17 points in the first half on 6-for-9 shooting.

The Gators would seize the momentum in the third quarter with the help of an 11-2 run in the opening 2:42 to take the lead, 49-45. The Gators would lead by as many as seven while outscoring the Nighthawks 24-14 in the quarter to lead 62-57 after three.

In the final quarter, Olsen scored 13 of the Nighthawks final 15 points, all coming in the final 3:51. The Nighthawks outscored the Gators 22-9 in the fourth while shooting 7-of-13 from the field and 8-of-9 from the foul line. The Nighthawks also held the Gators to 3-of-23 shooting in the final frame. 

The win improves the Nighthawks record to 6-6 while the loss drops the Gators to 4-7.

The Nighthawks take the court again on Saturday afternoon as New England Collegiate Conference play resumes. The Elms Blazers will travel across the state to face the Nighthawks at Pappas Gymnasium at 1:00 p.m.

With Olsen's 19 point outing, she is now just seven points away from becoming the fourth player in program history to reach 1,000 career points.