Naz women take first E8 loss at hands of Sage

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Trailing for much of the first half Friday, host Sage rallied to outscore Nazareth 40-26 in the second half to hand the Golden Flyers their first Empire 8 Conference defeat in women’s basketball, 77-67.

The loss was the first in conference play for the Golden Flyers, who dropped to 10-4 overall and 2-1 in the E8. Sage remained unbeaten in E8 action at 4-0 and improved to 8-7 overall.

Senior Rachel Benedict (Brockport) recorded her eight double-double of the season with game-highs in points (24) and rebounds (13), but she was held to just five points in the second half as Sage outscored Nazareth 18-10 in the third quarter and 22-16 in the fourth. Sophomore Jadyn Abrams added a season-high 21 points to go with five rebounds. Sage, meanwhile, had a balanced offensive attack that featured five double-digit scorers.

Benedict nailed two of her six three-point baskets late in the first quarter as Nazareth surged to a 20-12 lead. The advantage grew as large as 10 points on two occasions in the second quarter before the Gators closed the gap to 41-37 by halftime.

Nazareth missed their first seven shots to open the third quarter as Sage scored the the first 13 points of the period to go up 50-41 in the first four minutes of the half. The Golden Flyers appeared to be headed back on the right track late in the period after Demetria Woodard and Benedict each canned three-point shots to close the gap to 55-51 heading into the fourth quarter. Elizabeth White then added the first basket of the fourth quarter as Nazareth cut the deficit to two points, 55-53.

The Gators then used a 12-2 scoring run to take their largest lead of the night, 67-55, with less than six minutes to go and the Golden Flyers couldn’t recover.

Sammy Pasinella was Sage’s high scorer with 19 points Kaitlyn Bowman added 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Golden Flyers will attempt to salvage a weekend split of Empire 8 Conference games when they visit Utica Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip-off.

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