Collins

MEDFORD, Mass. -- Senior Sarah Collins just missed her second career triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots as she led the Babson Beavers to a 61-45 victory against New Paltz State in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Tufts' Cousens Gym on Friday.

With the win, the Beavers (26-2) advance to the second round of the national tournament for the fourth consecutive season.

Making their first NCAA tournament appearance, the Hawks saw their season come to an end with a 24-4 record.

Collins kicked off her final run with a solid performance, shooting 7-for-15 from the field and 4 of 5 from the line for a game-high 18 points. In addition to her 14 rebounds and eight rejections, the 2013 NEWMAC Player of the Year also recorded a team-high three steals. The double-double was her 24th of the season, tying Ashley Roser of Wells for first in the nation.

Joining Collins in double-figures were freshmen Kristen Ferola and Megan Otto who finished with 12 points and 11 points, respectively. Freshman Alicia Wilde added 10. Freshman Linnett Graber chipped in five points and a game-high six assists for the Beavers, who shot 46.3 percent (25 of 54) for the game, including a 52 percent (13 of 25) clip in the first half.

New Paltz State received 10 points and five steals from freshman Michelle Valle and eight points from senior Maliqua Fisher. Senior Alex McCullough pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds while blocking three shots for the Hawks, and freshman Shannan Walker added five points, six boards and three assists.

Babson never trailed in the contest, although New Paltz State stayed close for the majority of the first half. The Beavers led by just three after a steal and transition jumper by junior Jeanette Scott made it 21-18 with 5:09 left in the period, but the Beavers responded with an 8-2 run to take the largest lead of the game 29-20 with 2:51 to go. Otto kick-started the burst with a baseline drive and layup, Collins added two free throws, Graber tossed in a running hook in the lane and Collins capped it with a bucket off a pass from senior Katerina Mallios.

After taking a 32-24 lead into the break, Babson continued to surge in the second half, scoring six of the first eight points to push the margin to 38-26. A trifecta by junior Alyssa Gratien cut it back to single digits at 38-29 with 16:12 left to play, but the Hawks got no closer the rest of the way. A steal and conventional three-point play by senior Allanah Wynn quickly regained the 12-point lead, and, after a New Paltz bucket, back-to-back hoops by Otto made it a 14-point cushion at 45-31 with 10:38 to go. The difference eventually hit as many as 18 on two occasions before Babson finished off the 61-45 victory.