CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College senior forward Erika Murphy (Torrington, Conn.) led all scorers and freshman forward Gianna Youngblood (East Freetown, Mass.) hit on 8 of 11 shots off the bench and scored 17 points to help pace the Blazers to a 67-43 victory over Southern Vermont College in Tuesday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) women's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Elms improves to 12-5 on the season, 9-1 in league play, while Southern Vermont slips to 5-11 overall, 4-5 in NECC action.
The win marks the Blazers' fifth straight victory and 99th for head coach Laura Habacker during her career at Elms. Coach Habacker will go for her 100th win on Saturday, Jan. 28 when the Blazers host Lesley University at 4:00 p.m. at Picknelly Arena.
The opening half saw neither team shoot well from the field as Elms connected on just 11 of 38 from the floor (28.9-percent), while Southern Vermont was held to 19.4-percent shooting from the field (6 of 31) as the Blazers posted a 25-13 lead at halftime.
Murphy was solid in the first stanza, netting 10 points and grabbing six rebounds, while freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) hauled in 10 of her game-high 13 boards in the first 20 minutes.
Elms began to pull away early in the second frame as senior guard Carolyn Talmadge (Wilbraham, Conn.) scored five of the Blazers' first nine points on a layup and a strike from beyond the arc to give Elms a 17-point 37-20 lead at the 17:26 mark.
Southern Vermont's Sherrita Hall (Temple Hill, Md.) converted the front end of two free throws and Kourtney Hewitt (Bennington, Vt.) hit a jumper in the corner on a feed from Joa Claircius (Clermont, Fla.) to shrink the lead to 14 (34-20) with 16:28 to play but that's as close as the Mountaineers could get as Elms used a 12-0 run midway through the half to stake a commanding 59-29 lead.
During the run, Youngblood swished a trey and converted a pair of layups, while sophomore guards Taylor Darby (Bristol, Conn.) and Emily Boucher (Ashburnham, Mass.) delivered jumpers as the Blazers' bench scored 20 points in the second stanza. Junior guard Jennifer Normandie (Westford, Mass.) drained the second of two foul shots to cap the run giving Elms a 30-point cushion with 7:12 remaining.
Murphy finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Parks contributed 11 points and 13 points to give Elms a pair of starters with double-doubles. Youngblood scored 17 of the Blazers' 28 points off the bench, while Talmadge and Darby chipped in seven points apiece.
Elms shot 50.0-percent from the field in the final period and finished at a 38.9-clip for the game.
Talmadge dished out five assists, while sophomore guard Ellen Donohue (Southington, Conn.) handed out six helpers in the winning effort.
Claircius and Hewitt scored 11 points each for the Mountaineers, while Claircius collected a team-best 10 boards.
Dayna Carpenter (Northampton, Mass.) finished with nine points and three steals off the bench for Southern Vermont.