BANGOR, Maine — Kissy Walker hasn’t endured many recent losing streaks as head coach of the Husson University women’s basketball team.
But playing Bates College had been the source of considerable frustration for the Eagles’ 27th-year leader — until Saturday. Husson ended a quarter-century of futility against the Bobcats with a 60-44 non-conference victory at Newman Gymnasium.
“Today it was our defense and especially our motto was rebounding because that’s how Bates usually gets a lot of their points,” said Husson senior guard Darla Morales, who contributed 13 points, five rebounds and four steals.
The win was the first in 19 meetings since 1991 for Husson over Bates and gave the Eagles a split of the day’s doubleheader after Bates had shaded Husson 72-62 in the men’s contest.
The Husson women limited Bates to 26.9 percent (14-of-52) shooting from the field while outrebounding the Bobcats 40-32. The Husson defense also came up with 13 steals while inducing 20 Bates turnovers.
Senior guard Chandler Guerrette paced the Eagles with 17 points, six assists, five steals and five rebounds, while sophomore guard Kenzie Worcester added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Husson (3-0) also got a big game off the bench from freshman center Sam Ireland of Howland, who contributed 10 points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
Nina Davenport, a junior forward from Freeport, led Bates with 13 points while Allie Coppola grabbed 13 rebounds.
Bates (2-2) took a six-point lead midway through the first half before enduring a span of 14 minutes, 18 seconds without a field goal.
That enabled Husson to build a 27-18 lead after a steal and drive by Guerrette 19 seconds into the second half before Bates briefly regained its touch.
The Bobcats, coached by former Bangor High School standout Alison (Smith) Montgomery, scored nine unanswered points to tie the game at 27-27 on a 3-pointer by Carly Christofi. But Husson countered with nine straight points, including 3-pointers by Morales and Guerrette, to regain control at 36-27.
The Eagles extended that run to 18-5 to close out the third quarter with a 45-33 cushion.
In the opener, Husson rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to within 62-59 on a 3-pointer by Raheem Anderson off an Alonzo McCain assist with 2:23 left in the second half.
But the Eagles came up empty on their next two possessions while Bates guard Jerome Darling hit a 3-pointer from the key and fed Malcolm Delpeche for another 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine as the Bobcats improved to 3-1.
“I think we just broke down too many times,” said Husson coach Warren Caruso. “It was two good teams both playing at a pretty good level, but in the second half we just lost some focus and didn’t run our offense well enough with trust.
“You look at their offensive possessions and they probably ran them through a little better than ours and at the end of the day I thought that was the difference in the game.”
Husson (3-1) was within 31-27 at halftime despite shooting just 26 percent (9 of 35) from the field and with Bates freshman guard Tom Coyne of Falmouth coming off the bench to hit four 3-pointers.
Husson took a 36-35 lead on a jumper by Justin Smith with 16:42 left in the game, but Bates then scored 11 unanswered points, including seven by Marcus Delpeche, Malcolm’s twin brother, and Coyne’s fifth 3-pointer of the game.
“He’s a sparkplug off the bench,” Bates freshman guard Nick Gilpin of Hampden said of Coyne. “You never know how many threes he’s going to make. He can go off at any point in time, so that’s good when our offense is really struggling that he can come in and put the ball in the hoop.”
Darling led Bates with 16 points, 14 in the second half, while Coyne scored 15 and Marcus Delpeche had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Anderson led Husson with 20 points, while Eli Itkin scored 11, Justin Martin had eight points, 21 rebounds and three blocked shots, and McCain chipped in eight points and six assists.