WESTFIELD, Mass., December 3, 2005 - Springfield College senior center Erin Schwartz (Milford, Conn.) posted game-highs of 18 points and nine rebounds and was named the Most Valuable Player as the No. 13 Pride defeated Western New England College, 55-43, in the second day of the Fourth Annual Pioneer Valley Women's Hoop Classic, hosted by Westfield State College.
The Golden Bears (3-2) held the edge through most of the opening half, as WNEC led by as many as nine points (25-16) with 3:49 remaining in the first stanza. Over the course of the next ten minutes, however, SC went on an 18-0 run, taking a 34-25 lead with 13:45 left in the contest.
After WNEC staged its own comeback to pull within three points (34-31) with 12:15 to go, SC responded once again, going on another run and taking its largest lead of the game with 3:15 to play, at 47-35. Senior forward Courtney Parvin (Brackney, Pa.) added 11 points and six rebounds in the winning effort. Junior point guard LaToya Franklin (Latham, N.Y.) produced a very solid all-around game, scoring eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field, while recording four steals, two assists and no turnovers. Franklin joined Schwartz on the All-Classic Team.
In opening-round action of the Pioneer Valley Classic on Friday evening (Dec. 2), SC defeated host Westfield State College, 83-75, in an overtime thriller. Schwartz led all scorers with 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field while grabbing eight rebounds. Franklin scored nine points, collected nine rebounds, and added three assists and steals.
The No. 13 Pride bolted out to a 23-3 lead to open the game, and held a 40-24 edge at halftime. The second half was a different story, however, as the Owls drained eight of their 13 three-point field goal attempts to storm back into the contest. Freshman guard Lauren Sylvain hit a big three with just 1:12 left in the game to give Westfield its first and only lead of the game, at 68-66. SC sophomore guard Christine Cotter (Stoughton, Mass.) tied the game at 68 apiece on a short jumper with 48 seconds left on the clock. Cotter scored 15 points and added a game-high seven assists in the contest.
Both teams had solid chances to score in the final 48 seconds of regulation, but neither squad could connect, as the game went into overtime. In the extra session, the Pride pulled away by pounding the ball inside to Schwartz and making eight of its free throws in the final minute. Freshman center Lauren O'Conner (Valhalla, N.Y.) chipped in with 14 points and seven rebounds.
After this weekend's sweep, the No. 13 Pride improves to 5-1 overall on the season and will next host Wesleyan University in its home opener on Friday night, December 9, in a 7:00 p.m. start.