Women’s Hoop: Catamounts Fall to St. Francis in Tournament Opener

Courtesy Vermont Sports Information

BURLINGTON – St. Francis Brooklyn picked up its first win of the season as the Terriers slipped passed Vermont 59-55 on the first night of the TD Bank Classic on Friday evening at Patrick Gym. Vermont dropped to a 1-4 record and St. Francis Brooklyn improved to 1-3.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” said head coach Lori Gear McBride. “But now it’s more of cleaning up some little things, like turning over the ball less and not fouling so much that will make the difference.”

Andreana Thomas turned in another solid performance for Vermont as she posted a season-high 14 points and dished out eight assists. Sophomore Katie Lavelle registered a career and game-best nine rebounds and season-high eight points in 23 minutes. Sydney Smith was just shy of her second career double-double as the sophomore added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.

Two-time Northeast Conference All-Defensive honoree Leah Fechko collected 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals to lead St. Francis. Olivia Levey was a force in the paint contributing 12 points off the bench. The Terriers finished almost perfect from the foul line going 11-for-12 (91-percent).

Vermont won the opening tip and Atwood tossed a long pass to Smith, who drilled a big 3-pointer to open the game. The Terriers remained on the Catamounts’ tail as they were knotted at 13 apiece by the end of the first quarter.

St. Francis picked up where it left off by starting the second quarter on a 12-2 run and jumped out to a 21-15 lead with 5:55 left in the half. Courtney Wright tipped in a low basket to halt the Terriers, but Fechko answered from behind the arc to give St. Francis a seven-point advantage with 4:50 remaining in the half.

Back-to-back UVM buckets from Smith and Lauren Handy got Vermont back to within four, but Palarino’s nine first-half points put St. Francis up 31-24 after 20 minutes. St. Francis held the Catamounts to just 36-percent shooting but Vermont edged the Terriers 34-30 on the glass.

Thomas scored 10 of her 14 points in the third quarter, knocking down a trifecta and going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. The floor general also gave Vermont its first lead of the second half (45-44) when she tipped in a buzzer-beating layup at the end of the quarter.

UVM went on a mini 8-2 run to take a one-point lead with 1:55 to go on back-to-back triples from Smith and a jumper from Lavelle. St. Francis fought right back as Blair Arthur drained a late three and Dana Direnzo knocked down a pair from the line with 26 seconds left on the clock to secure the Terriers’ victory.

St. Francis advances to tomorrow night’s championship game against Georgetown. The Hoyas defeated Quinnipiac in the first game of the evening, 80-68. Vermont will take on the Bobcats in the consolation game tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Radio coverage begins 20 minutes prior to tip-off on WVMT 620-AM and SportsJuice.com and games can be viewed for free via AmericaEast.tv.

Tickets can be purchased online at UVMathletics.com, in person at the Athletic Ticket Office located on the balcony in Patrick Gymnasium or one hour before game time in the lobby of Patrick Gymnasium.

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