The William Smith College basketball team built a 16-point second half lead and needed every bit of it, as the Herons squeaked out a 65-64 win over visiting Clarkson University Jan. 18. Senior forward Laura Hadwin (Vestal/Vestal, N.Y.) led a balanced Heron offense with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Entering the contest, Hadwin needed just two points to become the 11th William Smith basketball player to record 1,000 career points. She hit the milestone 4:15 into the game with a lay up.
Clarkson (7-5, 0-3 in UCAA) led by as many as six in the opening stanza, but was unable to keep the Herons at bay, heading into the locker room down by six, 32-26.
The Golden Knights could have trailed by much more if not for the efforts of forwards Linda Bondellio (Watertown/Watertown, N.Y.) and Jen Martin (White Mts. Reg./Guildhall, Vt.). The duo combined for all of Clarkson’s 26 first half points, splitting the workload evenly between them.
Early in the second half, William Smith (5-5, 1-1) clung to a 35-33 lead when Hadwin went off. She scored the game’s next 10 points, converting four field goals and a pair of free throws. By the 7:32 mark, the Herons had pushed their lead to 16.
The Golden Knights outscored William Smith 13-4 down the stretch, including 11 from Bondellio, but her three-point attempt with two seconds remaining was off the mark, and the put back underneath left Clarkson one point shy of forcing overtime.
Bondellio finished with a game-high 34 points and 10 rebounds, while Martin posted 21 points and 14 boards. The rest of the Clarkson squad was 3-of-19 from the floor (.158) and contributed just nine points.
All nine Herons that played scored at least three points.
William Smith returns to action at 7 p.m., on Jan. 21, when the team travels to Brockport State.