Bates College’s Nina Davenport looks back over her shoulder after sinking a basket giving her 1000 career points during a game against UMA on Friday night at Bates College. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — Nina Davenport launched a 3-point attempt right out of the gates in Friday’s women’s college basketball game against the University of Maine-Augusta at Alumni Gymnasium.
Needing just three points for career point 1,000, Davenport looked to the heavens when her shot rimmed out.
The Bates College senior from Freeport missed three of her first four shots, the one basket a short jumper to get her to 999 points. With the home fans on their feet, Davenport stepped back like she has done thousands of times in her life and swished a trey with 3:57 left in the opening frame, breaking the 1,000-point mark and leading her team to a 67-58 victory over the Moose.
“It was very relieving. I wanted to get it out of the way and focus on the rest of the game,” said Davenport, who tallied a game-high 25 points in the win.
“We might have been a little bit more uptight as we went on if she wouldn’t have gotten it right away,” Brunswick native and Bates senior Lyse Henshaw said.
UMA, which plays out of the Yankee Small College Conference, entered with an 8-1 record and kept up with the much deeper Bobcats throughout. It took a solid defensive effort in the second half by Bates to pull out the win, as well as a closing 8-0 run.
“They came out and their shooters showed that they could play and nailed almost everything. Kudos to them for keeping up and pushing us. We were surprised how they came out,” Davenport said.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair. The Moose jumped ahead 8-2 behind five points from Caitlin LaFountain. Davenport led her team back, with the 1,000-point passing trey getting the Bobcats to 10-9. The senior scored seven points as Bates grabbed a 17-13 lead after a quarter.
“She is just so good,” said Henshaw. “I have never seen someone who can jab step and routinely hit a 3. She does it with hands in her face, literally with hands on her forehead.”
The Moose refused to go away, outscoring Bates 23-16 in the second quarter for a 36-33 halftime lead. LaFountain had 11 points at the break, while Dominique Lewis picked up eight and Carmen Bragg seven for the Moose.
Henshaw scored all 10 of her points in the first half for Bates, going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
Bates picked up its defensive intensity in the second half, holding the Moose to just six points in the third quarter and edging ahead 45-42 after 30 minutes.
However, UMA refused to go away in the fourth. Down 53-47, the Moose used an 11-6 run to close to 59-58 with 1:33 remaining, despite LaFountain fouling out after picking up a team-high 23 points and adding nine rebounds.
After Bobcat Melanie Bickhorst was fouled while scoring for a 61-58 lead, Davenport grabbed the ensuing missed free throw and finished underneath for a 63-58 advantage. Carly Christofi and Bickhorst drained a pair of free throws each to close out the Moose, dropping the visitors to 8-2 on the season.
Now, Bates (2-4) sees a pair of in-state NESCAC rivals, hosting Colby and Bowdoin in a pair of non-conference tests.
“We have to really focus our energy and focus on the small things,” said Davenport.
Christofi had 12 points for Bates, while Binkhorst added 11. Lexie Nason pulled down 12 rebounds, with Julia Middlebrook dishing out six assists. Davenport picked up six steals.
Lewis chipped in 14 points and four assists for UMA, with Kate Stevens owning the boards with 21 rebounds.
Bates College’s Nina Davenport charges the basket during a match-up against UMA on Friday night at Bates. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)UMA’s Carmen Bragg shoots at the basket as Bates College’s Emily Freedland plays defense at a basketball game on Friday night at Bates College. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Carly Christofi shoots the ball during a basketball game against UMA on Friday night at Bates College. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Lyse Henshaw shoots the ball as UMA’s Sidney Moore watches fomr the side during a basketball game at Bates College on Friday night. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Lyse Henshaw pushed past UMA’s Kylie Kemp during a basketball game on Friday night game at Bates College. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Nina Davenport pushes past UMA’s Caitlin LaFountain during Friday night’s match up at Bates College. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)