Bears Tame Wildcats, 56-41

Bears Tame Wildcats, 56-41

BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Sophomore center Destiny Fitzgerald (Medford, Mass.) posted a double-double with a game-high 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bridgewater State University women's basketball team to a 56-41 victory over visiting Johnson & Wales University on Saturday afternoon at the Tinsley Center.

The Bears improve to 5-8 on the season and are now 5-1 all-time against Johnson & Wales. The Wildcats fall to 1-12 as they have dropped 11 straight contests.

Fitzgerald connected on 6 of 12 field goals attempts in 17 minutes off the bench and five of her 11 boards came off the offensive glass. She also blocked three shots. The double-double marked Fitzgerald's second in as many games.

Junior guard Nicole Bostick (Taunton, Mass.) added 12 points in 12 minutes off the pine for the Bears, while senior forward Kailyn Aguiar (Acushnet, Mass.) tallied eight points, eight caroms and a pair of assists. Senior guard Olivia DelGrosso (Ledyard, Conn.) checked in with nine points, five boards and four assists, and classmate Sara DaSilva (Chelmsford, Mass.) dished out a game-high seven assists and grabbed five rebounds.

Freshman guard Dede Stevenson (Hartford, Conn.) paced Johnson & Wales with ten points, three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals, while sophomore forward Marissa Cottrell (New Berlin, Conn.) notched six points, eight boards and two steals. Senior forward Ally Mishol (Longmeadow, Mass.) pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

After a tightly contested first quarter, the Bears scored the first eight points of the second to open up a 22-16 lead. Fitzgerald scored all eight points during the run. After the Wildcats closed the gap to 24-22, back-to-back three-pointers from Bostick late in the period extended the BSU advantage to 30-22. Johnson & Wales closed out the first half with buckets from Cottrell and Stevenson to make it a 30-26 game at the break.

Bostick scored all 12 of her points in the first half as she was 4-for-9 from behind the arc, while Fitzgerald tallied ten points over the first 20 minutes. Cottrell and Stevenson notched six points apiece to pace the Wildcats in the first two quarters.

Bridgewater shot just 29% (12-41) from the floor in the first half, while Johnson & Wales connected on 42% (13-31) of its field goal attempts. The Bears, however, crashed the boards to the tune of 13 offensive rebounds which led to a 13-0 edge in second chance points.

The Bears held the Wildcats to just seven points in the third quarter. Still clinging to a four-point advantage (37-33), Bridgewater closed out the period with a  layup by Fitzgerald followed by a Danielle Arcidiacono (Bellingham, Mass.) three-pointer as the Bears took a 42-33 lead into the final quarter.

Johnson & Wales was held scoreless for the last four minutes of the third quarter and the first three minutes of the fourth. A Fitzgerald layup followed by another Arcidiacono trifecta and a pair of free throws from DelGrosso to open the final period completed what proved to be a 12-0 run as Bridgewater opened up a 16-point (49-33) lead with 7 ½ minutes remaining in the game. The Bears would maintain at least a 12-point advantage the rest of the way and got up by as many as 18 (55-37) before settling for the 56-41 victory.

Bridgewater shot 32% (22-68) from the floor for the game and knocked down 7 of 25 (28%) three-pointers. The Bears finished with a 46-39 rebounding advantage including a 17-8 edge on the offensive glass which led to a 19-2 difference in second chance points. Bridgewater also scored 20 points off turnovers compared to just six for Johnson & Wales, while the BSU bench outscored the JWU reserves, 34-12.

After shooting 62% (8-13) in the first quarter, the Wildcats connected on just 12 of 44 (27%) field goal attempts over the final three periods. Johnson & Wales also went 0-for-8 from behind the arc for the game and made just two trips (1-for-2) to the free throw line.

The 41 points marked the fewest the Bears have allowed this season.

Both teams open conference play next week. The Bears travel to North Adams on Wednesday night to take on Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) foe MCLA at 7:30, while the Wildcats entertain Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) rival Norwich University on Tuesday evening at 5:30.