Women’s Basketball: Cadets advance to Hockenbury Classic title game after wire-to-wire win over Eastern Nazarene


NORTHFIELD, Vt. – A first-quarter rout by the Norwich University women’s basketball team, which included a 21-3 run to open the game, helped lead the Cadets to a 67-56 victory over the Eastern Nazarene College Lions in the opening game of the 2022 Ed Hockenbury Classic in Andrews Hall on Friday night.

Norwich will move on to face Trinity College in the 3:00 p.m. title bout tomorrow afternoon, after the Bantams coasted to an 83-67 win over Westfield State in the nightcap.  The Owls and Lions will meet in the consolation game, scheduled for 1:00 p.m.

The Cadets featured a trio of double-digit scorers, with Haley Brewster (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Maren McGinn (Georgia, Vt.) bot h logging 18 points apiece.  Brewster added in 13 rebounds for another double-double performance, while McGinn was an efficient 9-14 from the floor in 27 minutes. Brittany Graham (Rye, N.H.) rounded out the double-digit effort with a career-high 17 points, knocking down three treys in the process.

Four straight layups by the Cadets, with three stemming from McGinn, catapulted Norwich to a swift 8-0 lead less than two minutes in.  Despite a long-range bomb from Anaira Ayala got Eastern Nazarene on the board, Norwich never looked back, building a 21-8 lead at the first intermission before the Cadets took their largest lead of 24 halfway through the second frame on a MacKenzie Moore (Georgia, Vt.) lay-in.

Eastern Nazarene fought to prevent the game from getting out of hand, trimming Norwich’s lead down to 12 heading into the final ten minutes before Delaney Walker finally put the Lions back within single-digits with two minutes remaining on the clock.  A pair of freebies from Brewster in the closing seconds, however, served as the exclamation point on the Cadets’ cruise past Eastern Nazarene.

“Tonight was a good win for our program,” said Head Coach Mark Zacher. “We were able to jump out to an early lead on a good Eastern Nazarene team.  They made a run by increasing their defensive pressure and, as a young team, we made some definite steps forward in handling it amidst some expected old and revisited mistakes and problems.  Our starting unit performed extremely well which is very promising for our future.”

Joining Brewster in double-figures in caroms was Erika Thomas (Burlington, N.C.), who hauled down 10 boards to go with a career-best five assists. Rachel Botala (Grand Isle, Vt.) also had a career day in assists, dishing out seven helpers.  The loss avenges a 79-45 setback to the Lions from last December.

Walker led Eastern Nazarene offensively with 15 points, followed by a 14-point, 10-board double-double effort from Alondra Jimenez.

The Cadets will now seek to claim their first Hockenbury Classic title since 2014, battling a Trinity squad that captured three Hockenbury championships in a row between 2015 and 2018.  All three of those title games were decided between the Bantams and the Cadets.