The William Smith College basketball team put five players in double figures on its way to a 61-51 Liberty League win over Clarkson University in Bristol Gym today. Junior Kristen Kush led the charge with a game-high 20 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Senior Mollie Danahy, sophomore Sydni Salvatore, and first-year Erin O’Brien each added 10 points for the Herons (9-9, 4-3). O’Brien also posted a team-high four assists, while Danahy and O’Brien recorded a game-high four steals each.
Sophomore Noelle Miller gave the Golden Knights (4-13, 1-6) a team-high 13 points off the bench, while senior Sierra Noles and junior Chrissy Scanlon each scored 11. Scanlon and senior Lauren Pluchino shared game-high honors with 10 boards each.
A back-and-forth contest, neither team led by more than six points through the first 39 minutes of the contest. The lead changed hands 10 times, and was tied on 11 occasions, the last time on a Scanlon layup with 2:42 remaining.
On the next possession, Salvatore drained a 3-pointer that put the Herons back in front and ignited a 10-0 finishing run. At the other end of the floor, Kush drew a charge. William Smith was able to take advantage of the turnover, handing the ball back to the Knights, but Clarkson misfired on a 3-point try and Kush countered with a midrange jumper for a 56-51 lead with 1:24 left.
From there, the Herons put the game away at the free throw line, making 3-of-4 in the final 30 seconds. O’Brien iced the win with a steal and layup with two seconds to go.
William Smith, playing without leading rebounder Jacqueline Murphy, was able to play Clarkson to a draw on the glass (36-36) and exploited the Golden Knights miscues. The visitors committed 22 turnovers to the home team’s 10. The Herons converted that into a 20-9 advantage in points off turnovers.
William Smith will begin a five-game road trip on Friday, Feb. 4, when the Herons visit Union. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Clarkson will return home to host Rensselaer at the same time.