By Adam Pasquale
Number-four-seeded Westfield State defeated top-seeded Worcester State 84-73 in a back-and-forth thriller for the MASCAC Championship played at John P. Brissette Court at WSU. The win awarded Westfield State their fourth consecutive MASCAC title dating back to 2016.
The first quarter was a struggle offensively for Westfield. The Lancers lead 21-15 heading into the second quarter. Senior guard Kate Surprenant lead Worcester State with eight points in the quarter.
Westfield State started to play hard; they implemented a fast defense to start the second quarter which lead to turnovers by Worcester State. As the quarter continued, Worcester State found its groove and headed into halftime leading 35-26, ultimately the Lancers’ largest lead of the game. Surprenant, senior forward Kaitlyn Berkel, and sophomore guard Colleen Cutting lead the Lancers offensively as they each had 10 points going into the locker room.
The third quarter started off with a bang as Westfield hit back-to-back threes in their opening possessions of the second half. They also began to full-court press the Lancers. Westfield scored 30 points in the third quarter and trailed 57-56 as only one quarter remained until a champion would be crowned.
The intensity was at an all-time high in the fourth quarter. Every basket by either team would erupt the crowd onto their feet. Westfield State starting heating up from the field while the Lady Lancers were clearly becoming fatigued. The Owls shot 55 percent from the field in the final quarter.
Sophomore guard Colleen Cutting weighed in on how fatigue affected Worcester State down the stretch and into the crunch time of the game.
“Fatigue is usually a factor against (Westfield State) but not as much as it was yesterday,” she said. “We usually play zone against them but we were in full man-to-man yesterday and I think that played a big role in being fatigued.”
Westfield State’s senior guard Lucy Barrett was crowned the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player for her contributions when it mattered most. She had 14 of her 20 points in the fourth quarter and was the main reason why the Owls were able to pull away as the game concluded.
Worcester State was lead by Suprenant with 17 points, Berkel’s 16 points, Herring’s 15 second-half points, and Cutting’s 12 points. Catherine Sweeney racked up 21 rebounds which was a game high.
Worcester State finishes an exciting season with a 20-7 overall record. The Owls finished 18-9 and automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament with the win.