WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State women's basketball spotted Salem State a 17-0 lead out of the gate, but the Owls came roaring back behind 28 points from Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.) and 24 from Melissa Gray (Peabody, Mass.) as the Owls posted a 93-69 win in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference play at the Woodward Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls, missing leading scorer Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.) with an injury, and coming off an emotional last second win at Framingham on Wednesday, did not score in the first five minutes of the game. Salem countered with the first 17 points of the game before Westfield's Allison Hester (Sutton, Mass.) netted a steal and layup with 4:47 left in the first quarter. Salem led 29-20 at the end of the first, but the Owls grabbed the lead for good in the middle of the second quarter, and led 49-42 at the half.
McCarthy, who was honored in the pregame ceremonies for having scored her 1,000th career point, finished today 10-19 from the floor, 5-7 from three point range, and grabbed seven rebounds and seven steals. Gray added 24 points, eight rebounds and eight steals, while Hester chipped in 12 points, five steals and three assists. Chelsea Moussette (Hampshire/Southampton, Mass.) dished out six assists for the owls.
Salem was led by senior center Kia Fernandes (Wareham, Mass.), who dominated play in the paint with 10 points and 18 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards. Tyra Scott (Methuen, Mass.) added 12 points and Katie Wallace (Peabody, Mass.) 10.
Westfield won its 25th straight conference home game at the Woodward Center. The Owls forced 46 turnovers from Salem and Westfield finished with 27 steals, and moved the ball to the tune of 24 assists on 35 baskets. Westfield connected on 12 of 29 (41.4 pct.) three point tries.
Westfield State improves to 10-7 overall and 4-0 in the MASCAC. Salem State is now 2-15 overall and 0-5 in conference play.
Westfield will be back in action on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. with a home game against Fitchburg State at the Woodward Center.
Salem will host MCLA on Tuesday.