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<B>Southern Vermont College&rsquo;s Kala MacKenzie (right) tries to get around Bay Path&rsquo;s Kayla Skiffington during the first half of Thursday&rsquo;s contest. (Holly Pelczynski)</B>

BENNINGTON -- The Southern Vermont College women's basketball team was able to hang with Bay Path for stretches of Thursday night's contest, but a final push gave the Wildcats a 74-60 win over the Mountaineers at the Mountaineer Athletic Center.

"Offensively, we didn't shoot the ball well tonight," said SVC coach Mike Quinn. "We couldn't get an offensive rhythm going. We had the shots, but couldn't make them."

Kayla Skiffington led all scorers with 27 points for Bay Path, but it was teammate Justine Hook (17 points) who took over the offensive duties in the first half.

With Bay Path down 11-9 midway through the first half, Hook hit a three to make it 12-11, and Bay Path would not give up the lead for the rest of the contest.

SVC would come close to getting the lead back when Marissa Myers hit a three off a pass from Amber Flagg (22 points) to make it 21-19, but Hook hit a three to push the lead back out to five. In total, Hook hit five treys on 5-of-8 shooting in the first half to give Bay Path a 34-25 lead at the break.

"[Hook] was unconscious," Quinn said. "She was two threes from 28 feet. You don't defend against 28-foot shots. If they go in, they go in."

"Justine is a tremendous player with a tremendous shot," said Bay Path coach Jill Shaw. "People we didn't anticipate stepping up stepped up tonight. We did a good job of shutting down Flagg as best we could."

Flagg did manage 14 points in the first half, but seven came from the free throw line.


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SVC did manage to limit Bay Path's leading scorer Skiffington in the first half, holding her to only six points.

"I was thrilled with what we did with Skiffington [early on]," Quinn said. "She was making a lot of errors because of how we were playing."

But in the second half, Skiffington scored 21 points to help seal the game as SVC tried to make it close.

Twice in the second half, at 44-40 and 50-46, SVC cut the lead to a manageable amount. But once Bay Path sensed the pressure, the Wildcats tore out.

An and-one by Skiffington made it 53-46, and Skiffington would hit a pair of free throws to make it 57-46.

Bay Path would lead by as much as 20 late in the half, but the Mountaineers closed out on an 8-2 run to give the game the 74-60 score.

"I think [Flagg] didn't get going. She is a tremendous player," Shaw said. "I think taking her out of the offense was huge."

Flagg led SVC with her 22 points, and Sarah McDonald scored all 15 of her points in the second half to be the only other Mountaineer in double figures. Skiffington ended with a double-double, adding 15 rebounds to her 27 points, while McDonald pulled down eight boards. Flagg recorded six steals in the loss.

SVC falls to 4-13, 2-8 in the New England Collegiate Conference, while Bay Path moves to 6-11, 5-5 in the NECC. SVC returns to action on Saturday, when the team travels to Lesley University for a 2 p.m. contest.