NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Norwich women’s basketball team displayed some impressive defensive prowess producing a 26-1 run in the third quarter of a 72-48 victory over NVU-Johnson in its season opener on Saturday afternoon at Carter Gym.
The Cadets forced the host Badgers into eight turnovers which led to 11 of the visitors’ 26 points in the decisive third period. Norwich turned a 33-25 halftime lead into a 33-point cushion at the onset of the final stanza.
Norwich grabbed a 12-2 lead early in the contest as the team got offensive contributions from four different players. After a mini-run by the Badgers reduced the deficit to 14-11, the Cadets’ senior guard Riley Bennett (Hopkinton, N.H.) scored five-straight points, giving her 12 in the opening period, to extend the lead to 19-12 at the end of the quarter.
Jocelyn Pellerin scored five points early in the second quarter as a part of a 9-2 run for NVU-Johnson that evened the score at 21-21 at the midway mark of the period. However, the Cadets turned the tables and outscored the Badgers 12-4 the remainder of the period to establish the eight-point halftime advantage.
Norwich added offensive efficiency to its defensive tenacity in the third quarter shooting 10-of-18 (55.6%) from the floor and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. The offensive firepower was spread uniformly across seven players with senior guards Julia Vigorito (Malden, Mass.) and Emily Schromm (North Attleboro, Mass.) leading the way with five points each. That level of execution on both ends of the floor established the Cadets’ largest lead of the game at 59-26.
The Badgers made a run in the fourth quarter out-producing Norwich 22-13, but it would not be enough to erase the sizable deficit. Bennett added six more points in the final quarter to finish with a game-high 26 points.
Bennett added four rebounds and four assists to her offensive output to lead the Cadets. Senior forward Caileigh Travers (Valley Cottage, N.Y.) scored a career-high 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. Vigorito also scored in double digits netting 11 points. Freshman Toni Adipietro (Bloomingburg, N.Y.) led the Cadet reserves with five points.
The Cadets will make a return trip to Johnson, Vt. on Wednesday for a rematch at 5:30 p.m.