North Adams, MA- The MCLA women's basketball team has advanced to the MASCAC semifinals where the sixth seeded Trailblazers will meet the second seed, the Framingham State University Rams on Thursday night at 6pm. MCLA earned a trip to the semifinals for the second straight season following a 64-54 win over third seeded Worcester State on Tuesday.
Similar to Tuesday, MCLA will be looking to avenge a regular season sweep. Earlier this season, the Rams defeated the Trailblazers 72-59 on January 14th, while the Rams posted a convincing victory on their home floor 99-42 on February 8th.
The Rams are led by junior guard Reaghan Mulherin and senior center Alycia Rackliffe. Both are averaging in double figures while Rackliffe leads the MASCAC in rebounding. In the latter contest between the two programs, they combined for 39 points. In that game, Mulherin didn't miss from the floor as she was 6-6 shooting and made five three point field goals. Rackliffe collected a double double of 22 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
While Framingham cruised in the second contest, the matchup in North Adams was much more competitive. MCLA led 32-27 at halftime and 45-44 after three quarters only to have the Rams spring past them in the fourth quarter. Quinn O'Connell and Monta Connelly were in double figures for FSU in the eventual 72-59 victory over the Trailblazers.
If MCLA is to get a different result this time around, the offense will continue to need to flow through seniors Kayla Hotaling and Courtney McLaughlin. The duo have led the Trailblazers in scoring all season long. They combined for 42 points in the quarterfinal win over the Lancers on Tuesday night.
MCLA shot just 23% from the floor the last time they were in Framingham so they'll have to shoot the ball better in order to stay with the high powered Ram offense. Another key to look for is turnovers. MCLA has averaged 24 turnovers per game this season against the Rams defense. The Trailblazers however, did have a season low 7 turnovers in the win against the Lancers on Tuesday night.
The Trailblazers will need some scoring punch from the trio of Ashley Clawson, Brayleigh Hanlon, and Emily Moulton. All are capable of scoring in double figures and would be an asset to offset the Ram attack.
The winner of the game moves on to the MASCAC championship on Saturday against the winner of the other semifinal featuring regular season champion Westfield State and 4th seeded Bridgewater State.
Thursday's contest will be streamed live on athletics.mcla.edu and fans can follow along on twitter @MCLAAthletics for updates.