WESTFIELD, Mass. – Westfield State sophomore forward Melissa Gray (Peabody, Mass.) drained seven three-pointers and scored a career-high 34 points to lead the Owls to a 94-85 win over #3 seeded Bridgewater State in the MASCAC women's basketball semifinals at the Woodward Center on Thursday evening.
With the win, Westfield (17-9) advances to Saturday's MASCAC Championship game, which will be played at #1 seed Worcester State at 1:00 p.m.
Bridgewater completes its season with a 14-13 overall record.
The Bears jumped out to a 24-17 first quarter lead, but Westfield trimmed it back to 44-41 at the half.
Bridgewater used a 5-0 run to close the third quarter to lead 68-61 entering a decisive fourth quarter. Gray (14 pts), and seniors Lucy Barrett (Williamstown, Mass.) (12) and Kierra McCarthy (Ludlow, Mass.) (7) combined to score all of the Owls 33 points in the fourth quarter.
Westfield outscored the Bears 14-7 in the first 2:53 of the fourth, getting the game on level terms at 75-all on a McCarthy three pointer.
Leading 85-83 with 1:41 to play, Gray drilled her seventh three-pointer of the night on a wing jumper that gave the Owls an 88-83 advantage. Barrett and McCarthy combined to hit 6 of 6 free throws in the closing seconds and preserve the win.
Barrett finished with 27 points on 10 of 18 shooting from the floor, and McCarthy netted 15 and grabbed seven rebounds as Westfield advances to the MASCAC Championship game for the fifth straight season.
Westfield shot 15-32 (46.9 5) from three point range in the game and handed out 25 assist on 35 buckets, led by five assists from junior point guard Chelsea Moussette (Hampshire/Southampton, Mass.)
For Bridgewater, the Bears had five players score in double figures, led by 19 from Danielle Arcidiacono (Bellingham, Mass.), and 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds from Kailyn Aguiar (Bishop Stang/Acushnet, Mass.). Olivia Del Grosso (Ledyard, Conn.) added 16 points, and Kayla Carter (Lynn St. Mary's/Beverly, Mass.) and Destiny Fitzgerald (Medford, Mass.) each got 11.
The Bears shot 36-75 from the floor while trying to pound the ball inside, and held a 50-36 advantage in rebounds.