LEICESTER, Mass. - A textbook balanced offensive attack, led by 14 points by senior Destiny Spears (Arnold, Md.) pushed the Newbury Nighthawks past the Becker Hawks, 61-55, on Saturday afternoon at Leicester Gymnasium in New England Collegiate Conference play.
Spears was effective, shooting 6-of-11 on the afternoon while also pulling in a team-high 12 rebounds. Freshman Tatianna Occena (Spring Valley, N.Y.) matched a career-high, scoring 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting, including 2-for-2 from beyond the arc. Juniors Taylor Kelley (North Billerica, Mass.) and Savannah Olsen (Battle Creek, Mich.) both scored 12 points.
Hawks sophomore Cassidy Harrison (Foxborough, Mass.) scored a game-high 25 points on 6-for-20 in a full 40 minutes. She shot 9-of-10 from the line on the afternoon. Junior Adrianna Dowdy (East Haven, Conn.) scored 11 points and added a game-high 15 rebounds. Junior Katey Anderson (Beachwood, N.J.) added 10 points in a 40-minute effort.
The Nighthawks started strong, scoring 10 of the first 12 points for a 10-2 lead. Olsen scored six points in the run. The Hawks would recover and score the final five points of the quarter to trail by four, 13-9.
Newbury would, once again, start the quarter strong, gaining their biggest lead of the half with a 9-0 run to lead 26-18. However, Becker would respond by embarking on a 13-4 run to end the half and lead 31-30. Harrison scored seven of her 25 in that run.
Neither team led by more than a possession in the third quarter as the team's both scored 12 in the frame with Becker holding their lead 43-42.
The early fourth quarter was all Nighthawks thanks in part to a 10-2 run which gave them a 52-46 lead with 6:14 remaining. Becker would again bounce back to make it a one-point game, 52-51, but the next seven points belonged to the Nighthawks as they would finally pull away for good, 58-51. Newbury saw the game out to the eventual 61-55 final.
The victory improves the Nighthawks to 8-7 (5-1 NECC), matching their win total from last season, while the loss drops Becker to 7-6 (3-2 NECC).
The Nighthawks have won three of their last four and return on Tuesday as they welcome Lesley University to Pappas Gymnasium for a 7:00 p.m. tip.
The 5-1 NECC record matches the best conference start in program history through six games, matching the 2011-12 team that also started 5-1.