Bowdoin’s Maddie Hasson (14) goes to the hoop against SUNY New Paltz’s Philesha Howell (25) during Friday’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Sectional at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  (Brian Beard /

BRUNSWICK – The Bowdoin women’s basketball team took advantage of its size, depth and athleticism, pulling away from a six-point halftime lead to roll to an 81-50 victory over SUNY New Paltz State in NCAA Division III sectional play in Morrell Gymnasium on Friday night.

The win puts Bowdoin in the “Elite 8” for the second straight year and the Polar Bears will face Ithaca, winners in the final seconds over DeSales, 76-75, in the evening’s earlier match up. Tip off is slated for Saturday evening at 7 p.m. on the Brunswick campus, with the winner punching its ticket to the Final Four next week in Salem, Virginia.

“I was really pleased with our effort and our focus on the gameplan today,” Bowdoin coach Adrienne Shibles said. “Defensively we were really sharp.”

Junior Maddie Hasson led all scorers with 19 points, while hauling in a game-high 13 rebounds for Bowdoin (29-1). Senior Abby Kelly chipped in with 13 points in the victory.

The Polar Bears pounced on the Hawks early. Taylor Choate, who scored 38 points in Bowdoin’s win over Smith in the previous round, promptly stole the ball after New Paltz won the tip and converted on the other end for the contest’s first points.

After a Hawks basket, Bowdoin’s Abby Kelly drained a trey to start a 10-0 run, putting the Polar Bears ahead, 14-2 early on.

“We really focused on getting a good start tonight,” Hasson said. “We let up a little bit in the second, but we got it back.”

New Paltz became hot from behind the arc as a 3-point basket from Rachel Simon, a pair from Lindsay Bettke and one from Marion Dietz cut the Bowdoin lead to 18-14. The Hawks were a blistering 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the opening quarter.

Kelly hit the final shot of the quarter to give her nine points in the frame and Bowdoin a six-point lead after 10 minutes of play.

Choate followed Kelly with four points, while Hasson grabbed five of Bowdoin’s 12 rebounds.

Bowdoin’s Coach Adrienne Shibles smiles and gives a had to her squad late in the game as the Polar Bears rolled to a 81-50 victory over SUNY New in Friday’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Sectional at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  (Brian Beard /

Bowdoin opened the second quarter on a 10-5 run, but the Hawks answered. Trailing 30-19, New Paltz was able to creep back into the contest. Despite rolling her ankle in the first quarter, Bettke returned to the floor and sank a trey and a pair of baskets by Simon, including one to end the half that kept the Hawks within six entering the halftime break, 33-27.

Bowdoin was plagued by seven second-quarter turnovers, allowing New Paltz to stay close.

“That was the focus during the halftime speech,” Shibles said. “We told them to take care of the ball.”

Hasson registered nine second-quarter points to lead all scorers with 11 at the break. The 5-foot-11 forward grabbed eight first-half boards, including six on the offensive end. Bowdoin held the advantage in rebounds, 22-15 at the half.

“We talked a lot of their rebounding (while scouting) and we knew in their big wins they outrebounded their opponents,” Shibles said. “Their guards are very good offensive rebounders.”

The Hawks went cold from behind the arc in the second quarter, hitting only 1-of-6.

Protecting the house

After Coach Shibles’ halftime talk, the Polar Bears protected the ball in the third, and started the half pouncing on the Hawks. Hasson nailed a trey, hit a pair of free throws, grabbed three more offensive rebounds before dishing it out to Sam Roy where her roommate nailed a three and Bowdoin led 41-31 with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.

“Halftime came at a good time for us,” Hasson said. “We got a chance to settle down at halftime and come back out with the same focus we started the game with.”

“There are some things I feel I didn’t quite prepare them for tonight,” New Paltz coach James Seward said. “Rebounding was something I should have prepared them better for.”

Following Roy’s three, Moira Train came off the bench and sank one from behind the line. Baskets from Dorian Cohen and Hasson, along with free throws from Kelly and Roy, and Bowdoin enjoyed its biggest lead to that point, 51-31 with just under four minutes to play.

“It was a great atmosphere,” Train, who finished with eight points off the bench, said. “We knew SUNY was going to bring their best game. Coming off the bench, we know one through 14, we need to bring our best effort.”

With Bettke on the bench as her ankle was not able to loosen up, the Hawks struggled to find points in the third quarter. Simon and Madison Van Pelt each netted four points, but Bowdoin was able to double up the Hawks, outscoring them 20-10 in the quarter to take a 53-37 lead into the final frame.

Once again the Hawks were cold from 3-point land, missing all five shots it took from behind the arc, finishing only 5-for-21 from the field in the quarter.

Hasson continued to pace all scorers, netting 19 through three quarters.

Train opened the fourth with a basket, and a 16-2 run to start the final frame all but put the game away for the Polar Bears, garnering its biggest lead to that point, 69-39 midway through the quarter.

“Our defensive pressure wore them down throughout the game,” Shibles said.

Bowdoin enjoyed its largest lead, 78-46 late in the contest before finishing off the Hawks, 81-50.

“Give credit to Bowdoin, they are a tremendous basketball team,” Seward said. “They certainly played that way tonight.”

Hasson finished with game highs in points (19) and rebounds (13), while playing only 27 minutes. Kelly finished with 13, while Roy (nine) and Choate (eight) rounded out the

Bowdoin’s Abby Kelly drives to the hoop during Friday’s NCAA Women’s Basketball Sectional at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  (Brian Beard /

scoring for the starters.

Cohen added seven in nine minutes of play off the bench.

Marion Dietz led the Hawks with 13 points, followed by Simon’s 11 and Bettke’s nine.

Bowdoin ruled the rebounds, taking a 56-34 advantage over the Hawks.

Bowdoin finished with a 46.8 percent shooting night from the field, holding New Paltz to just 25.3 percent shooting for the contest.

The celebration will be short as Shibles and company expect a dogfight with Ithaca.

“They bring a lot of poise and confidence,” Shibles said. “We’re going to need to bring our best effort.”

Ithaca 76, DeSales 75

Annie Giannone made a lay up with six seconds remaining as Ithaca beat DeSales, 76-75, in the first game of the “Sweet 16” sectional at Bowdoin College.

Ithaca improved to 25-5 and advance to the “Elite 8,” while DeSales had its 22-game win streak snapped and finished the season at 27-3.

Ithaca carried a 40-37 lead into the halftime intermission after a fast-paced opening half.

DeSales took control of play in the third, outscoring the Bombers, 21-10 over that span.

Trailing 58-54 to start the fourth quarter, Ithaca began to chip away, closing the gap and taking its first lead since early in the half, 74-73 with under a minute remaining.

DeSales’ Averi Jordan put the Bulldogs back ahead with 11 seconds left, setting up Giannone’s heroics.

Giannone and Cassidy O’Malley led Ithaca with 19 points apiece. Kellyanne O’Reilly came off the bench to score 12, while Megan Pickell added 11.

DeSales was paced by Bridget Walsh’s 19 points, followed by Morgan Birmelin’s 18. Jordan finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

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