LEWISTON — Bates maintained a steady lead throughout its first-round NCAA Division III tournament game, and the Bobcats earned their second tournament win in three years by beating Brooklyn College 66-51 in Alumni Gymnasium on Friday.

“We’ve been talking about (this game) all week,” Bates senior Morgan Kennedy said. “We love Alumni (gym) magic so much, and just to be able to play for our community and see how many people show up for us is a super special feeling. We definitely don’t take it for granted.”

Bates advances to the second round of playoffs and will play Widener on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., again at home. Widener defeated Springfield 57-50 in Friday’s earlier game on the Bates College campus.

Kennedy finished with 20 points for the Bobcats on Friday, tying for game-high honors with sophomore teammate Elsa Daulerio, who also grabbed 20 rebounds.

“I feel like in the first half, we were out-rebounding them,” Daulerio, a Mt. Ararat High School graduate, said. “It felt like they got too many second chances, and on the other end of things, we had a lot of great shots, but I just knew that we all had to crash. I think that was a big focus for me, and I think our rebounding really led to a lot of good success for our offense as well.”

The Bobcats (23-5) dominated the the first quarter by scoring 17 points and holding the Bulldogs (18-9) to five. Kennedy led Bates with seven points in the first quarter, and Alina Estrella scored all five points for the Bulldogs.


Brooklyn picked up its scoring in the second, adding 17 points, including an 11-point run midway through the period.

“I think we just got comfortable, and we started to play our game a little bit more, too,” Brooklyn coach Megan Campbell said. “To start the game, it was tough for us to get shots off, but once we got comfortable within the environment, I think, you know, that’s all that happened in that second quarter.”

The Bulldogs’ pressure defense limited the Bobcats to only eight points, five of those scored by Daulerio. Despite the slow second quarter, Bates still led 25-22 at the half.

Kennedy sat out nearly the entire second period due to foul trouble, which coach Alison Montgomery said changed the pace of the offense.

“I think the leadership that Morgan brings, separate from even making plays and hitting shots and getting stops — which are really important things that she does as well — just her presence can be really important to keep our team stabilized and together,” Montgomery said.

“We missed that in the second quarter, but I was really feeling confident and wanting our other players to have that opportunity.”


The competition was tight in the third quarter, with Bates scoring 21 points and Brooklyn 20. Each team had a seven-point scoring run, first the Bobcats and then the Bulldogs.

Daulerio remained a threat in the paint, scoring six points and grabbing five key rebounds for the Bobcats.

She said the physicality of Friday’s game coupled with the Bulldogs’ zone defense “really clogged up the paint,” but her offensive rebounds helped the Bobcats draw fouls.

“In games like that, I think what helped us a lot was to attack the rim and drop out,” Daulerio said.

Brooklyn senior Ericka James said the fast-paced, full press defense has “always been a part of the culture” of the Bulldogs. She said it’s an advantage for the team, especially against opponents who are not used to that level of consistent pressure.

In the fourth, Bates put up 20 more points and maintained offensive control nearly the entire quarter. The Bobcats’ lead reached double figures with about eight minutes remaining.


The packed Alumni Gymnasium was full of eager fans and plenty of heckling, especially on free throw shots for the Bulldogs. Bates College President Garry Jenkins even joined the rowdy student section crowd for the final five minutes of the game.

“It was a great environment, I love the energy from the crowd, I respect it,” Estrella said. “It fueled us; it didn’t deter us at all. We actually really liked it, we feed off of it, and I’m super proud of the team, of how we responded we didn’t let it get in our heads at all.”

Estrella, a fifth-year senior, led Brooklyn with 11 points and four steals. This was her only season with the Bulldogs.

“This season meant everything. It’s my fifth year, and I came to a new program,” Estrella said. “Everyone was super welcoming. I think my hard work and everything was respectable, and I just wanted to share that with everyone and be basically the best leader I could be.”

Ericka James and Dior Dorsey each scored nine for Brooklyn.

Sarah Hughes contributed 10 points for Bates, and Alexandra Long dished out eight assists.

Kennedy also had nine rebounds, and the Bobcats out-rebounded the Bulldogs 56-33.

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