Late Burst Lifts Cats Past UNH

The Lady Cats continued their winning streak by sliding pass New Hampshire 70-60, helping them secure the third place in the America East conference tournament. “We stuck to it in the first half but it was a bit of a struggle,” said junior point guard Jen MacAulay. We picked up in the second half defensively and went on to hit some big shots, got some energy and that’s what kept us going.” The game began with a salute to senior Heather Burroughs of Essex Junction, who graduated cum laude with the class of ’00 last May. In her top performance of her career she didn’t score a point, holding former Maine star Jamie Cassidy to well below her season average, and helping the Catamounts win the 2000 America East Conference and a trip to the NCAA tournament.The duel against the Wildcats seemed like an uphill task from the start. Vermont was having problems stopping the 6’3″ Wildcat Anna Mathias in the paint. She gave her team a 39-37 lead with 13 points and two rebounds at the half. Only junior forward Rachel Bryan’s 10 points combined with clutch free throws by UVM early in the contest kept the score close by intermission. Come second half, UVM had new energy and were quite unstoppable. MacAulay assisted Bryan twice with some blinding passes, getting the 1,765 people who attended up on their feet. With 13 minutes left in the game, MacAulay made a quick pump fake and drove to the hole for a lay-up that stood out as one of the best drives of the game. This basket helped UVM get on a roll, as they started taking charge. “They had a lot to gain in the standings and stuff, so we knew they would be after us especially after we went down there and beat them pretty bad. I think they wanted a little redemption up here,” said MacAulay. With six minutes left in the game, MacAulay, sophomore Morgan Hall, and sophomore Dawn Cressman all hit shots from beyond the arc to increase their lead to 61-45. Sophomore guard Theresa LaRocque and Cressman sealed the victory, as they made their free throws with just under a minute left in the game. The UNH full court press in a “one-and-one” free throw situation seemed bane, as they only managed to foul Vermont. UVM’s intense defense held New Hampshire to a mere 21 points in the second half. Like previous Vermont wins, it was the bench who poured in the points, as Cressman finished with 11 and six boards, Bryan with 14 and three boards, and Hall with 13 and five boards. Vermont hosts the America East Championship tournament at Patrick Gym from March 7-10.