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Westfield Falls at NYU, 79-74

Lucy Barrett (file photo)
Lucy Barrett (file photo)

The New York University women's basketball team made a few big plays late in the game to hold of visiting Westfield State University 79-74 at the Sportsplex on Saturday, December 1, in Manhattan.

NYU (3-2) hit four late foul shots and earned three huge defensive stops to defeat the Owls (3-2), who came into the game leading the nation in scoring at 97.0 ppg and qualified for the last three NCAA Division III Tournaments.  NYU has been a program of national signifigance since the mid-90's, having won a national title in 1997, and appeared in the final four as recently as 2007.

A three-pointer from Katie Foos put the Violets ahead 64-55 with 7:31 remaining, but three-straight triples from Westfield St. tied the game just 1:12 later.

Another Foos three-pointer, her fifth of the game, with 5:13 remaining put the hosts back in front and, this time, they maintained their lead for the duration of the game. A basket from Olivia Linebarger quickly made the advantage five, but the Owls were able to get as close as one, 75-74, on an Allison Hester three-pointer with 2:08 on the clock.

Hester's triple was the final time Westfield St. scored, as Annie Barrett and Casey O'Connor each hit a pair of free throws in the final minutes to make the final margin five points.

The game was tied 15-15 after the first quarter, but NYU pulled away in the second and took a 10-point lead, 43-33, into the locker room at halftime.

Westfield St. quickly dug into the margin and cut it to two points less than three minutes into the second half, but NYU was able to hold onto the lead until a late three-pointer from Chelsea Moussette tied the game at 55-55 heading into the fourth quarter.

NYU scored the first nine points of the final quarter, with the final basket of that run being an aforementioned three-pointer from Foos. From there, the Violets, bent, but didn't break and held on to win their home opener.

Foos led all scorers with a career-high 23 points and also pulled down a career-high nine rebounds.

Foos was joined in double figures by Janean Cuffee (13 points), Linebarger (12 points) and Bianca Notarainni (11 points). Barrett once again stuffed the stat sheet for the Violets, scoring eight points, while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists in 35 minutes of action. Cuffee, who made her first career start on Saturday, also finished with five rebounds and four assists.

Melissa Gray scored 17 points to lead the Owls, with Lucy Barrett adding 12, and Hester 10.

The Owls connected on 15 of 47 three point tries in the game. Westfield shot just four free throws in the game, while the Violets were issued 22 free throws in the contest, as Westfield was whistled for 25 fouls to NYU's seven.

After five straight road contests to open the season, Westfield will finally play its home opener at the Woodward Center on Thursday, hosting Albertus Magnus College at 7:00 p.m.