Tawney’s Free Throws Lift Vassar Over New Paltz

By Steven Merritt

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Vassar College Women’s Basketball team earned a hard fought 59-58 victory over New Paltz at home on Tuesday night. Freshman Bella Tawney’s two free throws with 12.2 seconds left clinched the victory for the Brewers to move Vassar to 2-4 overall.

The two squads traded four points apiece in the opening three minutes as Abby Korzekwinski and Graci Serravillo converted lay-ins for New Paltz and senior Alex Lee and Tawney scored buckets for the Brewers. Vassar took its first lead of the game at the 3:22 mark on a layup from freshman Caroline Siekman but the Hawks countered with a three-pointer from Brianna Fitzgerald to regain the lead. New Paltz finished the quarter on a 9-2 run, capped by a three from Serravillo to take a 21-15 lead.

Sophomore Tova Gelb and Tawney added three free throws to cut the lead to three until the 5:26 mark of the second quarter when Serravillo scored six straight points for New Paltz. Freshman Maddie Ahearn scored nine straight for Vassar to tie the game at 27 with 2:39 left in the half. Jenny Walton’s five points in the final two minutes pushed New Paltz back in front at 32-28 heading into the second half.

Coming out of the halftime break, senior Eliza Srinivasan picked up two assists as Gelb hit a three-pointer and Tawney converted a layup to take a 33-32 lead. After a Hawks free throw, Lee drilled a three to push the Brewers back ahead with 7:14 remaining in the quarter. New Paltz’s Lexi Van Vorst knocked down a triple with four minutes left to tie the contest at 40. Freshman Sierra McDermed’s back-to-back three-pointers along with Srinivasan’s layup got the Brewers up by six heading into the fourth quarter.

The two squads traded scores in the fourth quarter as the Brewers held its six point lead with 5:40 left in the game. New Paltz countered with a 7-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from Fitzgerald to give the Hawks a 55-54 lead with 3:10 to go.

Lee countered with a triple of her own with just under a minute remaining to get Vassar ahead 57-56. Van Vorst finished a strong drive in the paint to take a one point lead before Tawney was fouled on a drive and converted both free throws to clinch the 59-58 victory with 12.2 seconds remaining.

McDermed led Vassar with 10 points as Ahearn added nine on 4-for-4 shooting. Tawney led the team in rebounds with six and chipped in seven points along with three blocks.

Srinivasan handed out a game-high nine assists.

Fitzgerald tallied a game-high 19 points and added eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Serravillo finished in double figures with 13 points as Walton added 11 points. Van Vorst also added three steals for the Hawks.

Vassar finished the night shooting 41.8-percent and were 7-for-18 from three-point range.

The Hawks shot 33.3-percent from the field and just 6-for-31 from three. New Paltz outcored Vassar by eight at the free throw line as well as second chance points at 16-5.

The Brewers returns to the floor after the holiday break as they take on Ithaca on the road on Friday, December 2nd. Tip-off with the Bombers is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Liberty League opener.

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