By SAM ROGERS
The Wildcats remain undefeated after their first road trip of the season. They traveled to in-state rival Dartmouth on Monday, then to Fairfield, Connecticut on Wednesday night to take on Sacred Heart. UNH collected wins in both venues, 61-57 at Dartmouth and 81-69 at Sacred Heart.
UNH was down seven points entering the final quarter of play at Dartmouth. The ‘Cats went on a 20-9 run to end the game and hold on for the victory. The Wildcats’ dominance in the paint once again proved to be their strength, as sophomore Carlie Pogue notched 19 points and four rebounds. Fellow forward Corinne Coia scored 16 points to aid the team.
Through three meetings between UNH and Sacred Heart, the home team has always prevailed. The Wildcats rewrote that trend with a win at the William H. Pitt Center. Senior Elizabeth Belanger led the Wildcats with 22 points and 10 rebounds. UNH’s forward play was too much for Sacred Heart to handle, and Coia and Pogue added 21 and 15 points, respectively. The duo also combined for 12 rebounds.
“We’ve had a height advantage the past two games and we just took advantage,” head coach Maureen Magarity said. “We have a lot of depth, and have a lot of girls to go to. There’s no drop-off.”
A quick 3-pointer by sophomore Aliza Simpson gave UNH an early lead, but as the first quarter developed, it proved to be the Pioneers for the taking. After taking over the lead with eight minutes remaining in the first, Sacred Heart led until UNH made two quick layups in the final minute to gain a 19-18 lead.
The second quarter proved to a similar slugfest, with neither team able to run away with the lead. UNH’s five-point lead was the largest of the quarter, but the Pioneers battled back and the majority of the second frame was a one-possession battle. The first half came to a close with the Wildcats leading 34-32.
The three-headed monster of Belanger, Coia and Pogue elevated the Wildcats’ game and broke the game open in the second half. The three combined for all 24 Wildcat points in the third quarter. Taking advantage of missed shots, fouls and turnovers, UNH took a 58-49 lead heading into the final period of play.
Simpson’s 3-pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter seemed to put the game out of reach for the Pioneers. With a ten-point lead and dominant play in the paint, the Wildcats had no trouble finishing off Sacred Heart by a score of 81-69.
The Wildcats cleaned up their turnover struggles from the Dartmouth game against Sacred Heart, limiting themselves to 10 turnovers. They also chipped in 19 assists in the contest. Coach Magarity was “thrilled” at her team’s clean and unselfish play, specifically citing junior Kristen Anderson, who had nine assists.
The Wildcats hope to turn their road wins into momentum moving forward with tough tests at home on the horizon.
“[Playing well on the road] gives the team confidence,” Magarity said. “We need that confidence going forward.”
The Wildcats are back in action on Sunday at Lundholm Gymnasium, taking on the University of Pennsylvania at 1 p.m.