POULTNEY, Vt. – Green Mountain received double digit scoring from four players en route to a season opening 71-62 victory over Southern Vermont College on Saturday afternoon at the Eagle Dome.
The team effort in the win ends a streak of 27-straight losses for the women's program dating back to February 9, 2016 when the team defeated Lesley.
"Every player stepped up at important junctures throughout the entire game for us," said head coach Brad Rideout. "This was a big win in our first contest, but it also marked a big win for the program."
Green Mountain (1-0) was led by a pair of 15-point performances from junior guard Mercedes Rideout (Nashville, Tenn.) and freshman forward Britanny Frasier (Warrensburg, Pa.). Frasier also grabbed 12 rebounds for her first collegiate double-double. Sophomore forward Taylor Hill (Ronceverte, W. Va.) also posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in addition to her three steals. Junior forward Sharena Armstrong (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) had a solid debut in an Eagle uniform registering 12 points, four rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Sophomore forward Keegan Hill (Hagerstown, Md.) provided some rebounding off the bench by collecting eight caroms along with three points in her collegiate debut.
Southern Vermont (0-2) also had four players reach double-digit scoring, led by freshman forward Brenna Hudson who was perfect from the field (7-for-7) for 17 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Maddy Main posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds while sophomore guard Taylor Mallett and sophomore forward Dani Biggers each notched 13 points and six rebounds.
The game was tightly contested throughout with Green Mountain holding the largest lead at nine points and only at the conclusion of the contest. The score was tied six times with just as many lead changes.
Hudson gave the visitors an early lead on a made layup, but the Eagles held the slimmest of leads throughout the majority of the opening quarter leading only by as many as four until SVC tied the game at 16-16 with 1:23 remaining on another Hudson layup. Two made free throws by Hudson gave the visitors a brief 18-16 lead until Armstrong made two freebies of her own to knot the score at 18-18 at the end of one.
A Keegan Hill layup at the 8:53 mark of the second gave the Eagles a small cushion at 24-18, but a Biggers' three-pointer drew that lead back down to just one with 7:23 remaining in the half. A Lane trey at the 5:09 mark gave the Eagles some breathing room at 33-26, but the Mountaineers went on an 11-3 run to claim the lead at 37-36 with 2:28 to play. The Eagles closed the half on an 8-2 run of their own capped off by a jumper by senior forward Tyah Culp (Eatonton, Ga.) to take a 44-39 lead into the break.
From the third quarter through to the closing minute and a half of the fourth, the teams battled hard trading buckets and the lead. Mallet's made free throw at the 3:44 mark of the third brought the visitors even with the Eagles at 48-48, then the visitors reclaimed the lead at 51-50 after a freebie by Main heading into the final stanza.
For the majority of the fourth, the teams stayed within four points of each other with the Eagles hanging onto the slimmest of leads for long stretches at a time. It wasn't until there was just over a minute left when Frasier made two spectacular driving layups about 10 second apart that cemented the lead for GMC at 69-62 and energized the raucous crowd. The Mountaineers could not convert on their four possessions or a pair of free throws which allowed the Eagles to clinch the victory.
SVC enjoyed a 36-26 advantage scoring in the paint and edged the Eagles in second chance points 17-14. The Eagles barely eked past the Mountaineers in the battle of the boards with a 53-52 lead. The hosts did receive seven bench points compared to no bench scoring for SVC.
Green Mountain will host Cazenovia on Monday at 5 p.m. in its final contest before Thanksgiving, while the Mountaineers will play at home against Fitchburg on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.