The William Smith College basketball team defeated the University of Rochester 74-69 this afternoon, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the Yellowjackets. The Herons put four players in double digits to extend their season winning streak to six games.
It was the Herons (7-2) first win over UR since Jan. 18, 2000, an 87-52 result in Rochester. It’s William Smith’s first win over the Yellowjackets in Bristol Gym since Feb. 16, 1999 (80-64).
Senior guard Erin O’Brien had a game-high 17 points. Junior forward Chloe Hayter overcame foul trouble, which limited her to just 26 minutes, to score 16 points. Senior guard Sasha Borenstein added 11 points, making 1-of-3 from behind the arc to extend her streak of games with a 3FGM to 25.
Senior guard Jacqueline Murphy recorded 12 points, a game-high 11 rebounds, and a team-high four assists. Her rebounds raised her career total to 754, moving past Trena Sutton ’88 (745) and Stephanie Czajkowski ’08 (746) into fourth place on the school’s all-time list. First-year guard Melanie Patterson also added four assists off the bench.
Rochester (5-5) got 31 of its 69 points from the duo of junior guard Blair Landolfi (15 pts, 8 rebs) and senior forward Loren Wagner (16 pts, 6 rebs), but no other Yellowjacket reached double digits. Junior guard Ally Zywicki, who came into the game averaging a team-high 15.6 ppg, was limited to just eight points, all in the first half. She finished with a game-high six assists.
UR shot slightly better than William Smith from the floor, but couldn’t make up for the Herons’ significant advantage at the free throw line. William Smith went 23-of-32 from the charity stripe, making nearly twice as many as the visitors attempted (5-of-12).
Rochester got off to a fast start, building its largest lead of the game, 17-8, just over six minutes into the game. William Smith came charging back with an 18-2 run over a seven minute span that saw the Yellowjackets make just 1-of-13 field goal attempts.
UR came back to tie the game at 29 with 1:54 left in the half, but sophomore forward Lauren Brustein netted five of her eight points down the stretch to help the Herons take a 36-34 lead into halftime.
The Yellowjackets reclaimed the lead when senior forward Danielle McNabb (8 pts, 7 rebs) hit a 3-pointer to start the second half scoring, but a short time later Rochester’s shooters again went cold. This time William Smith used a 19-4 run to take a 57-45 lead with 9:35 remaining.
After stretching their lead to as many as 14, the Herons had to withstand a late charge by Rochester. William Smith went up 65-53 on a pair of free throws by O’Brien at the 4:09 mark. UR sophomore guard Kelsey Hurley bookended an 8-0 surge with layups to make it a four-point game with 2:05 to go.
The Herons called timeout and then ran a play for O’Brien who converted a Borenstein assist to make it 67-61. William Smith pushed its advantage back to eight before the Yellowjackets made one more ill-fated comeback attempt. UR got within five three times in the final 30 seconds, but the Herons went 4-for-4 at the line to seal the victory.
After shooting just 38.2 percent in the first half, William Smith connected on 55 percent of its shots in the second half. UR shot 51.6 percent after the break.
Rochester continues its road trip at Averett at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The Herons begin Liberty League play on Friday, Jan. 10, when they visit Rensselaer. Tipoff in Troy is slated for 6 p.m.