Bridgewater, Mass. - Visiting Dean College saw a six-point fourth quarter lead slip through their fingers and Bridgewater State seized the opportunity by posting a 68-65 win over the Bulldogs in non-league women's basketball action on Thursday evening in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Senior guard Olivia DelGrosso (Ledyard, Conn.) paced Bridgewater State with 14 points, five assists and four steals. Junior forward Kayla Carter (Beverly, Mass.) added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Bears, while senior forward Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) notched eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds (six offensive) to go along with two steals and a pair of blocked shots. Sophomore forward Destiny Fitzgerald (Medford, Mass.) and freshman guard Olivia Dziadyk (Wakefield, Mass.) contributed eight points and five rebounds apiece off the bench.
Freshman forward Makayla Rudder (Springfield, Mass.) notched a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to lead the way for Dean. The Bulldogs also received 12 points, eight boards, three assists and three steals from senior guard Jamaya Cleveland (Greensboro, Ga.), as well as 13 points, eight rebounds, four assist and three steals from senior guard Iindia Pina (Carver, Mass.).
After falling behind early, Bridgewater outscored Dean 15-2 over the final eight minutes of the first quarter to take a 15-6 lead after ten minutes of play.
The Bears extended their lead to 12 (21-9) following a Danielle Arcidiacono (Bellingham, Mass.) layup with 5:56 left to play in the second quarter. The Bulldogs chipped away at the deficit and got to within five (27-22) after Pina knocked down a three-pointer from the corner with 1:15 remaining. With time winding down in the first half, a layup off an offensive rebound by freshman guard Allison Buckley (Guilford, Vt.) just before time expired made it a 27-24 game at the break.
Midway through the third quarter, back-to-back layups by Carter and Fitzgerald followed by a pair of Nicole Bostick (Taunton, Mass.) free throws gave the Bears a nine-point lead (42-33) as the clock ticked down to three minutes. The Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run sparked by four points from Pina to cut the deficit to one, 42-41, with 2:22 remaining. A pair of free throws by Rudder with 19.5 seconds showing on the scoreboard gave the visitors their first lead (47-46) since the opening minutes of the contest.
BSU senior guard Sara DaSilva (Chelmtwo and a half minutes of the fourth quarter gave Dean a 56-50 lead. Cleveland sparked the run with five points including a three-pointer. Down six (58-52) with under seven minutes remaining, a DelGrosso trifecta followed by a Maggie Hester (Braintree, Mass.) baseline jumper pulled the Bears to within one, 58-57. Bridgewater then forced four consecutive turnovers out of a Bulldog timeout and capitalized on two of them as DelGrosso and Hester knocked down a pair of jumpers to cap off the 9-0 run and give the Bears a 61-58 lead with 4:36 left play. Dean responded with a Rudder free throw and Muhammad trifecta to reclaim the lead, 62-61, with 3:38 remaining. The Bulldogs, however would not score again until there was under 20 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
DaSilva converted 1 of 2 at the line to knot the score and Dziadyk buried a clutch three-pointer to put the Bears back out in front, 65-62, with 2:15 remaining. Bridgewater went just 3-for-6 at the stripe in the final minute to give Dean a chance at a comeback. Freshman guard Sitaara Muhammed (Brockton, Mass.) drained a three-pointer with 19 seconds left to make it a two-point game, 67-65. After the Bears made 1 of 2 free throws, the Bulldogs had two chances to tie it from behind the arc, but were unable to convert as Bridgewater hung on for the 68-65 victory.
The Bulldogs shot 38 percent (24-63) for the game, including 5-for-19 (26 percent) from three-point range. After missing six free throws in the first half, Dean went 8-for-10 at the stripe in the second half.
The Bears are off until next Thursday afternoon when they travel to Wentworth, while the Bulldogs host Colby-Sawyer on Saturday afternoon.