First-year guard Erin O’Brien scored the first eight points of the game and junior forward Kristen Kush finished with a game-high 26 points to lead the William Smith basketball team to a 67-60 Liberty League win at Rensselaer today. The win marked the first time since Feb. 29, 2008, that the Herons have beaten the Engineers, ending a four-game losing streak.
Kush finished the contest 13-of-23 from the floor, making more field goals than any two RPI players combined. Senior guard Mollie Danahy was 5-of-10 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers and 3-for-3 from the line for 15 points, while O’Brien logged 13 points and six rebounds on the final stat sheet. First-year guard Jacqueline Murphy grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, leading William Smith to a 51-46 edge on the glass.
Alison Connor scored a team-high 19 points for Rensselaer, while Hillary McKinley notched an 11-point, 12-rebound double-double off the bench.
O’Brien staked the Herons (8-8, 3-2) to an early lead with back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup for an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the contest. Kush followed with a jumper for 10-unanswered points. The Engineers missed their first four shots from the floor and committed a pair of turnovers in the first three minutes of regulation.
First-year guard Liz Douglass gave William Smith a 20-8 lead at the 13:46 mark. However, RPI (7-9, 3-2) was able to regroup and outscored the Herons 22-11 over the next 13 minutes to trim the visitors lead to just one. Douglass and McKinley traded layups in the final 17 seconds to send William Smith into the break clinging to a 33-32 lead.
Kush and Connor both had 12 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Kush opened the second half scoring, but Lauren Hayes countered with a 3-pointer to tie the game 35-all. William Smith responded to the threat with a 13-2 run. Kush keyed the surge with eight points.
The Herons led by as many as 13 after the break, including a 58-45 advantage with 7:56 remaining. The Engineers fought back with an 11-2 run, capped by Connor’s fifth 3-pointer of the game, to make it a 4-point game with 1:15 left to play. William Smith was able to put the game away at the free throw line, making 7-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final 61 seconds.
The Herons returns home on Friday, Jan. 28, when St. Lawrence visits Bristol Gym. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.