Bates College’s Melanie Binkhorst ducks down under Husson University’s Megan Peach during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)
LEWISTON — Husson couldn’t shake the effects of a 10-day layoff at the start of Saturday’s non-conference game against Bates. The Bobcats, meanwhile, threw them off like a frozen tourist throwing off their overcoat when they reach Florida.
Husson missed its first 10 shots in the same span that Bates made five of its first nine, all 3-pointers, to jump out to a 15-6 lead that the Bobcats never came close to relinquishing in a 64-47 victory at Alumni Gym.
Lyse Henshaw and Nina Davenport led the Bobcats (5-6) with 18 points apiece. McKenzie Worcester paced the Eagles (3-4) with 21 points, five rebounds and five assists.
“We saw the boys (Friday in a 78-75 win over Babson) hit all of their shots yesterday, so we just came out and did the same,” Henshaw said.
Bates never led by fewer than seven points after the first quarter. The Bobcats were nearly as on-target from beyond the arc (44.4 percent) as inside of it (44.8 percent overall) in the first half while building a 39-24 lead.
The Eagles warmed up enough to finish the half shooting 26.3 percent from the field, and only shot one free throw for the entire game.
“I thought we were getting some good shots,” Husson coach Kissy Walker said. “We were fading away a little bit with some of our shots in the paint, but for the most part we were getting OK shots. They just weren’t falling. And then it was just having to work harder to make up for things.”
“In the last little stretch of games that we’ve played I think our team has taken on a new pride. I think it’s just intensity. We really haven’t done anything differently,” Bates coach Alison Montgomery said. “They’re just embracing it a little bit more.”
The Bobcats got off to the strong start despite just two points in the first half from Davenport, their leading scorer this season (19.8 ppg). Henshaw more than made up for it with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
“At halftime, I saw we were up by 15, and Nina hasn’t even gotten it going. So I was actually feeling pretty good about it,” Henshaw said. “Nina’s definitely going to get going because I haven’t seen her have an off game in a while. We were able to help her out because she usually carries the scoring load.”
One of the reasons the Eagles couldn’t get going early was the work the Bobcats put in defensively to contain Worcester, Husson’s leading scorer (18.3 ppg). Guards Emily Freedland, Carly Christofi and Julia Middlebrook all took turns guarding the junior guard and former Washburn star.
“Emily Freedland is really good on the ball, really quick, and I thought she did a good job on her,” Montgomery said.
“We’ve watched a lot of film and we knew she was a really good player,” Freedland said. “From the beginning, I knew I was going to have to cover her and it was going to be tough, but it’s always nice to have a team where you know the help defense is always there, so I wasn’t afraid to get up on her.”
Worcester finally got Husson on the board with a three-point play 4:46 into the game. But Bates made three consecutive 3-pointers by Freedland, Christofi and Henshaw to push the lead to nine, which is where it stood at the end of one.
The Bobcat guards mixed more dribble drives in in the second quarter and sparked a 10-0 run. Davenport started it with a 3, followed by a layup by Middlebrook. A block by Melanie Binkhorst (13 points) set up a 3 at the other end by Henshawk. A pair of Binkhorst free throws gave Bates its biggest lead of the half at 29-12.
“They were zoning us a little bit more (in the first quarter). But once we came out firing like that, I think we forced them to go to man, and then we were doing a little more drive-and-kick,” Henshaw said.
“We started in a 2-3 zone and they shot really well. They moved the ball really well,” Walker said.
Husson tried to chip away at the start of the second half and pulled within 48-38 on a Worcester jumper late in the third quarter.
The margin stood at 10 at the start of the fourth, but not for long as Binkhorst drilled a 3, and Davenport, who also had nine rebounds and five steals, finished a baseline drive with a reverse layup to make it 56-41.
Bates College’s Julia Middlebrook drives forward with the ball through Husson University’s Sami Ireland and Sarah Bragg during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Nina Davenport pushes past Husson University’s Joan Overman during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Carly Christofi ducks before popping up in the midst of a group of Husson University team members during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Emily Freedland pushing forward during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Lyse Henshaw looks to the basket as she goes up for a shot during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Melanie Binkhorst looks to the basket past Husson University’s Sami Ireland as she shoots the ball during the game at Bates College on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)