Lady Cats Dominate Hartford, 64-61

Senior Morgan Hall posted her fifth double-double of the season with a game-highs of 27 points and 10 rebounds to lead Vermont past visiting Hartford, 64-61, at Patrick Gym. The win was the Catamounts second victory in the last five meetings with the Hawks and snapped a three-game losing streak to Hartford. The victory also extended Vermont’s win-streak to eight straight America East wins and six overall. Vermont jumped out to a quick seven point lead, 12-5, with 12:23 left in the first half. The Catamounts would extend their lead to 12 (22-10) on four straight free-throws as the Hartford bench was charged with a technical foul. Hartford responded with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to two, 24-22, with 3:58 remaining. UVM would push its lead back to six on a three-pointer by Dawn Cressman with 1:41 left in the half, but a lay-up by Angie Pezzetta and a two straight lay-ups by Cheri Eleazer tied up the game at 29-29 as the two teams headed into the locker room. In the second half a three-pointer by Tiffany Spinka gave Vermont a 40-31 lead with 16:18 left in the game. Hartford would cut Vermont’s lead to one on six different occasions, including freshman Erika Messam’s jumper with 1:33 left to make the score 62-61 Hall was 11-for-11 from the stripe on the evening. Pezzetta’s last-second three-point attempt didn’t hit the rim as time expired.Junior Aaron Yantzi chipped in 15 points and five rebounds, while Cressman finished the night with 11 points and five boards for Vermont. Eleazer lead the Hawks with 14 points and five rebounds. Messam chipped in 13 points and five assists, while Pezzatta added 10 points for Hartford. The Catamounts returned to action Saturday in Albany as Hall scored a game-high 24 points to lead Vermont to a 75-58 win. With the win, Vermont clinched the #2 seed in the upcoming America East Tournament, while the Great Danes were denied a spot on the tourney with the loss. Albany (9-17, 3-12), which has lost five straight, led 26-24 with 3:57 remaining in the first half but Vermont went on a 9-4 run to close out the half. UVM drained three consecutive three pointers, one each by Spinka, who had a career-high 11 points, Theresa LaRocque, who scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half, and Cressman. Cressman would add another bucket as the Catamounts entered halftime with a 33-30 advantage. Vermont (19-6, 11-3), which has won nine-straight league games and seven in a row overall, held a slim 43-40 lead with 13:50 left in regulation. Spinka sparked a 13-4 run with a conventional three-point play and allowed UVM to take a 56-44 lead with 8:02 remaining in the game. Albany closed the gap to eight with 5:13 remaining on a lay up by Danielle Hutcheson, who scored a season-high 20 points and added nine rebounds, to make the score 60-52. Albany wouldn’t get any closer as Vermont pulled away over the final minutes for the 17-point victory. Senior Jess McGinlay was Albany’s only other player in double figures with 10 points. After shooting 56.5% in the first half, Vermont was able to hold the Great Danes to 33.3% shooting in the second half and outscore Albany 42-28 in the second stanza. Vermont returns to action Wednesday when it hosts rival Maine at 7:00pm at Patrick Gym. Maine clinched the America East Regular Season Title and the #1 seed in the upcoming America East Tournament on Saturday with a 68-63 victory at Hartford. Wednesday’s game will mark the final regular season home game for seniors Morgan Hall and Dawn Cressman.