WESTON, Mass. – The second-seeded Elms College women's basketball team posted a 78-65 victory over No. 3 Newbury College in Friday evening's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Championship tournament semifinal women's basketball and punch its ticket to the title game on Saturday afternoon.
Freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) led the Blazers with 27 points and was a tremendous force on the glass hauling in a game-high 27 rebounds, while Senior forward Erika Murphy followed with 25 points and 11 boards.
With the win, Elms continues to increase the program's single-season win mark and improves to 19-8 overall. The Blazers will play fourth seed Daniel Webster College (19-8 overall) which notched a thrilling 66-63 victory over No. 1 Regis College in the tournament's other semifinal contest. Newbury concludes its season 16-11 overall. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m. at host Regis in Weston, Mass.
In the opening 20 minutes, Elms roared out to a 20-point, 48-28 lead at intermission as the Blazers hit on 45-percent of their shots from the field and had three players score in double figures in the period.
Freshman forward Denisha Parks (Fall River, Mass.) was 9 of 13 from the floor en route to 19 first half points and just missed securing a first half double-double hauling in nine rebounds in the frame. Senior forward Erika Murphy (Torrington, Conn.) added 14 points and also collected nine rebounds, while sophomore guard Emily Boucher (Ashburnham, Mass.) swished three treys to chip in 11 points.
Elms led by as many as 26 in the opening stanza (46-20 at the 2:59 mark) before Newbury scored eight of the final 10 points to the half to narrow its deficit to 20. The Nighthawks' lone bright spot was Shayla White (Dorchester, Mass.) who scored 10 points in the first period.
In the second half, Elms kept the Nighthawks at arm's length, building its lead to 27 when Murphy converted a layup to set the score at 64-37 with 13:28 to play in the game.
The Blazers maintained at least a 20-point cushion until Catherine O'Connell (Quincy, Mass.) swished a free throw for Newbury with just over minutes to play, and Nephie Marsh (Brockton, Mass.) canned a triple at the buzzer to pull the Nighthawks to within 13 points at 78-65.
Boucher and senior guard Carolyn Talmadge (Wilbraham, Mass.) dished out five assists each, while Talmadge added nine points.
Elms finished the game shooting 38.7-percent from the floor, and hit on 15 of 19 free throws (78.9-percent) to help seal the win. Junior guard Jennifer Normandie (Westford, Mass.) added six points off the bench.
Marsh and Kendra Bannister (Washington, D.C.) totaled 14 points each in the losing effort, while O'Connell and White contributed 13 and 12 points respectively.