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Worcester State Holds Off Westfield, 94-79

Taina Slaughter (file photo)
Taina Slaughter (file photo)

WORCESTER, Mass. - Junior Catherine Sweeney (Lowell, Mass.) recorded her second career triple-double on Thursday evening as the Worcester State University women's basketball team defeated first place Westfield State 94-79 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference action at John P. Brissette Court. Sweeney finished the night with 17 points, 19 rebounds, and 11 assists, her first triple-double since recording one against MCLA last season.

With the win, the Lancers improve to 14-5 on the season, and 5-1 in the MASCAC. Westfield State drops to 11-8 overall, and suffer their first conference loss of the season, falling to 5-1.

Worcester State matched Westfield's signature fast-paced offense right from the start of the contest, as the Lancers quickly jumped out to a 12-4 lead after hitting their first six shots. Seniors Kaitlyn Berkel (Waterford, Conn.) and Brittany Herring (West Brookfield, Mass.) each scored 10 first quarter points while shooting a combined 9-for-9 from the floor as the Lancers led 27-18 after one quarter. 

Herring stayed red hot in the second quarter, and the Lancers took a 48-34 lead into the locker room. For the second straight period, Herring went 4-for-4 from the floor to head to the locker room 8-for-8 for 18 points. Westfield State's Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.) led the Owls with 11 points in the opening half.

The Lancers jumped out to their largest lead of the game at 18 points (52-34) less than two minutes into the third quarter on a Kate Surprenant (Pelham, N.H.) jump shot, but the Owls would claw away at their deficit to close to within six after three quarters. Worcester State headed to the fourth holding a 65-59 lead after getting outscored 25-17 by Westfield State in the third.

After Barrett cut the Lancer lead to just four at 72-68 by converting an and-one with 6:26 remaining, Worcester State would go on a 9-1 run over the next two and a half minutes to all but ice the contest. A lay-up by senior Emily Carens (Northborough, Mass.) with 2:07 remaining was Sweeney's 10th assist of the night, giving her the triple-double and capping a massive Lancer victory.

Sweeney's performance was one of two historic stat lines for the Lancers on the evening, as Surprenant tied a program record by making eight shots without a miss in the contest. She finished as one of six Lancers in double figures with 17 points. Herring led all players with 26 points in the win, while also finishing with nine rebounds and eight blocks. Berkel, Carens, and sophomore Colleen Cutting (Auburn, Mass.) all finished the night with 10 points.

Westfield State had four players in double figures, led by Barrett and Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.), who each had 14 points. Sophomore Melissa Gray (Peabody, Mass.) recorded 13 points, and sophomore Taina Slaughter (Springfield, Mass.) poured in 12.

The Lancers shot an astounding 69.1 percent (38-for-55) from the floor in the contest, while not even attempting a 3-pointer the entire game. Westfield State shot 29.4 percent (32-for-109) from the floor and 23.4 percent (11-for-47) from three.

Next up for the Lancers, they will take on Salem State at home on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off is slated for 3 p.m. Westfield State returns to action with a road trip to MCLA the same day, set to tip at 2 p.m.


--Recap courtesy Worcester State sports info