Albany, NY- Sage's women's basketball team hosted the Golden Flyers of Nazareth College on Tuesday night in the team's first Empire 8 contest. A new member of the league, Sage opened conference play with a 75-73 win to improve to 6-3 overall and stand at 1-0 in the league. Nazareth drops to 3-6 overall and 0-1 in the Empire 8.
Sage was led by rookie forward Madasyn Bush (Pottersville, NY/North Warren Central) as she finished with a career-high 22 points after hitting 9-of-11 shots from the floor in the win.
Sage took a 31-30 lead into the locker room as Bush converted a three-point play in the final seconds of the first half. Sage posted an impressive 50.0% shooting performance in the first half as they hit 13-of-26, while holding Nazareth to 40.6% shooting (13-32) as well as scoreless from three-point range (0-8).
Junior Kaitlyn Bowman (Dannemora, NY/Saranac) paced Sage with 11 first-half points, while sophomore forward Megan Flynn (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central) was a perfect 4-4 in the first half with eight points for Sage. Bowman finished with 17 points with seven rebounds and a pair of assists and steals. Flynn was held scoreless in the second half by Nazareth. Junior Emily Parslow (Fonda, NY/Fonda-Fultonville) added 13 points with four assists and three steals to help lead Sage on Tuesday night.
Nazareth's senior guard Samantha Peebles (Syracuse, NY/Westhill) added 11 first-half points for the Golden Flyers with a 4-6 effort from the floor. Sophomore forward Rachel Benedict (Brockport, NY/Brockport) added nine of her 11 points in the first half with eight rebounds for the game. Sage had a commanding 32-17 lead at the half and cruised to the road win as eight different players scored in the action. Sage shot 60.0% from three-point range in the second half to ease to the win converting 3-5 shots.
Peebles led all scorers with her 27 points, converting 9-of-16 shots from the floor with a 9-12 performance from the line. She added six boards with six steals, three assists and a block, but it was not enough to lift Nazareth past Sage.
Sage led by seven with 26 seconds left before Nazareth got back to back three point baskets from sophomore Erica Bradley (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) and sophomore Kristen Simmons (Victor, NY/Victor) but it was not enough as time expired on Simmons shot to pull the Golden Flyers within two points as time expired.
Sage will be in action next on January 6 as the Gators host Elmira College in a 4 p.m. Empire 8 contest at Kahl Gym. Nazareth is back in action on January 5 with a road Empire 8 contest at Utica College at 8 p.m.