On March 13, the Mount Saint Mary’s Women’s Basketball team took on the Bryant University Bulldogs in a chance to retain their Northeast Conference Playoff title and to go back to the NCAA Tournament. The final was in the Knott Arena. This was the first NEC final held at the Mount with fans in attendance since the COVID-19 pandemic first started in March of 2020. If the Mount won the game, they would progress onto the NCAA Women’s Basketball tournament.
The line ups for the two teams remained unchanged from both playoff semifinals, as the Mount’s starting line-up was Isabella Hunt (C’24), Kendall Bresee (C’22), Michaela Harrison (C’22), Jessica Tomasetti (C’24) and Kayla Agentowicz (C’21). The first quarter started off with a slow build from both teams, but the Mount started to pull away with a good scoring run of 9-3 for a good five minutes. But a late push by Bryant and a visit to the foul line led to a close end to the quarter 14-13 in favor of the Mount.
Going into the second quarter, the Mount kept up the pressure, pushing Bryant to two shot clock violations in three minutes, while both Jada Lee (C’24) and Tess Borgosz (C’21) both came off the bench and were both dominant under the rim, contribution to three rebounds each. At the offensive end of the Court, Bresee, Harrison and Tomasetti were able put the Mount ahead, going 8-14 from the Field Goal, shooting 57.1%. The Mount headed into the locker room up 33-22 over Bryant, while going on a second quarter run of 19-7.
With a 12-point gap on the Bulldogs, coming out for the second half, the Mount had to keep the momentum against Bryant, as the Mount only had two available substitutes off the bench at any one time. But the Mount continued their offensive prowess with Harrison scoring 12 points through the quarter. Dominance on defense from Borgosz and Lee who both had four rebounds at the end of the third quarter put the Mount in front going into the last quarter up 49-31.
The Mount shut Bryant down in the last quarter of the game, only letting up eleven points, this was in due to Bresee and Hunt, who both ended with five and six rebounds respectively. A three-pointer hit by the playoff MVP, Michaela Harrison with 49 seconds to go sent Knott Arena into a frenzy of cheers as the team retained their NEC title and confirmed their spot for the second year in a row in the NCAA Tournament as the Mount won 60-42.
The trophy was given back to the team and nets were cut down by Coach Antoine White. He said postgame, “They are all tough individuals, as a collective until they are tough, so only having seven players, I knew it would be a challenge, but I know what they are made of, and they are made of the right stuff, since day one…”
Playoff MVP Michaela Harrison, who led the team in scoring on the day said of going back to the NCAA Tournament that “it is just so special, it’s so exiting, like I said in the last press conference that we’ve had so many ups and downs, and for us to make it back to back and to do it for so many reasons, to play in front of our friends and family, get Coach Antoine his first one, he’s one for one, get our two seniors their one last ride, to end it on a special note it means a lot, so I’m excited to go into the tournament, have an opportunity to possibly get a NCAA win.”