BABSON PARK, Mass., January 14, 2006 - Springfield College junior guard LaToya Franklin (Latham, N.Y.) hit two huge buckets in the final minute of play to help the visiting Pride edge the Babson College Beavers, 58-55, in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women’s basketball contest on Saturday afternoon. With the win, Springfield (10-4 overall, 4-0 NEWMAC) moves into sole possession of first place in the conference, while Babson (9-3 overall, 3-1 NEWMAC) saw its six-game win streak come to an end.
Senior co-captain Courtney Parvin (Brackney, Pa.) hit a jumper to give SC its largest lead of the game, 24-17, with 7:10 left in the first half. Babson then came storming back with a 12-0 run over the next five minutes, as the Beavers matched their largest advantage, 29-24. Sophomore forward Linsey Poulson was instrumental during the run, scoring seven straight points.
The Pride received back-to-back jumpers from sophomore Katie Castignetti (Braintree, Mass.) and Parvin just before the half to get back to within one, 29-28, at the break. Neither team would lead by more than three points the rest of the way, as the second stanza featured eight ties and nine lead changes.
After two Parvin free throws gave SC a 54-51 lead with 3:47 remaining, Poulson answered with a lay-up off a perfect entry pass from junior Suzy Ward with just under three minutes left. Ward then recorded a steal on the defensive end to give Babson the ball back, and sophomore Caitlin Boulier sank two foul shots to put the Beavers in front, 55-54, with 1:55 on the clock.
Following empty possessions by both teams, Franklin drove the right side of the lane and scored while drawing a foul with 56.3 seconds left. She would miss the ensuing free throw, but the basket still gave the Pride a 65-55 advantage. SC's defense then forced a turnover at the other end, and Franklin responded with the biggest shot of the game. After a timeout with 16.3 seconds in the half and just five seconds on the shot clock, the junior guard drove the left side of the lane and hit a running jumper to put the Pride in front, 58-55. Babson would get a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Boulier’s three-point attempt from the left elbow rimmed out as SC held on for the 58-55 win.
Sophomore guard Tara McCarthy (Bristol, R.I.) led a balanced Pride attack with 15 points, with Parvin and Franklin scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively. Senior center Erin Schwartz (Milford, Conn.) added eight points, eight boards, and four blocked shots for SC, while first-year Lauren O’Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) finished with six points, six rebounds, and two blocks. In addition to her late-game heroics, Franklin also recorded a game-high five steals to lead the Pride defense.
Poulson turned in an outstanding performance in the loss for Babson, shooting 8-for-13 from the field for a game-high 18 points to go along with six rebounds. Sophomore forward Bekie Berg added another strong effort off the bench for the Beavers, scoring eight points and grabbing a game-high nine rebounds.
SC, which has now won five-straight, will look to make it six-in-a-row as it travels to Clark University on Tuesday evening, January 17, for a 7:00 p.m. conference contest.