Bridgewater, MA- The top seeded Bridgewater State Bears recieved a 28 point performance from tournament MVP Shelly DePina as they held off a late rally in defeating third seeded MCLA 76-66 in the MASCAC title game. With the win, the Bears recieve the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. MCLA will await word on a potential ECAC tournament bid.
Bridgewater is now 19-7 while the Trailblazers sit at 15-13.
The host Bears and Trailblazers were in a hotly contested battle in the second half when the game changed in a hurry. MCLA forward Jen Wehner was whistled for three fouls in a nine second span. At the time, Bridgewater had extended out to a 44-36 lead. After trading baskets, Trailblazer Lucy Tremblay also picked up her fourth foul. With both Wehner and Tremblay on the bench, Bridgewater began to extend the lead.
Following a Depina layup, BSU led 55-42 with just over ten minutes to play. The eventually would move out to their largest lead using a 6-0 spurt to grab a 64-49 lead, which at the time seemed to be comfortable with 6:31 left.
MCLA began to use a full court press which resulted in a scoreless stretch for the Bears. Bridgewater would only manage two points over the next five minutes as MCLA used 12-2 run to get within five at 66-61 on a pair of Danielle Scolpino free throws.
Forced to foul, MCLA sent Jenna Williamson to the line. She swished both attempts to stop the spurt. Trailblazer Alie Dobrovolc missed a pair on the other end and Williamson knocked down another pair to put the Bears up 70-61 with just one minute remaining.
Bridgewater would manage to keep MCLA at bay for the remainder of the game sealing their trip to the NCAA tournament.
In the opening half, MCLA's Tremblay kept the Trailblazer close connecting on three shots from beyond the arc. Bridgewater led the entire half after the opening possession, but couldn't distance themselves from MCLA. The Trailblazers committed 16 first half turnovers, but the Bears also had 10.
Tremblay would finish with 16 points including four three pointers. Dobrovolc would add 14 points, 12 of which came in the closing half. She contributed 6 assists as well. One of the keys to the game was how well BSU contained Jen Wehner. The senior managed a double double and worked hard for her 11 points and 12 rebounds while battling foul trouble. Scolpino finished with 10 points off the bench. MCLA shot 46% for the game while committing 26 turnovers.
Bridgewater's Depina was spectacular connecting on 10-15 shots, including a 3-4 performance from three point land en route to her 28 points. She added 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Teammate Jenna Williamson contributed 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Monica Bharoocha finished with 15 points and 4 assists.
BSU shot 44% while committing 19 turnovers.
The result could mark the end of the careers of MCLA's Wehner, Dobrovolc, and Olivia McMullen. The trio will end their careers as the all time winningist class in Trailblazer history.
ECAC postseason bids will be announced Monday evening.