BRUNSWICK — A big late-season rivalry game against a big opponent. Five-foot-six guard Kaitlin Donahoe’s response? Hit a big shot. Then hit another. And another.

Donahoe scored 13 of her 21 points during a game-changing 22-10 run early in the second half to key Bowdoin to a 64-52 victory over rival Colby before a crowd of 900 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference women’s basketball game Saturday at Morrell Gymnasium.

Donahoe’s third 3-pointer of the run, at 12:31 of the second half, put the Polar Bears ahead 43-42, for their first lead since Colby wrestled away the lead, 20-19, with 4:48 left in the first half.

“I’m an emotional player, so, yes, I definitely felt a lift,” Donahoe said. “I thought the team as a whole played much better in the second half, moving the ball and running our offense.”

Alexa Barry added 11 points for Bowdoin. Amy Hackett had 10.

Colby had pulled away with a 20-7run over the final 10:20 of the first half to enter halftime with a 32-21 lead. The Mules (13-4, 3-3 NESCAC) did a good job early, working the ball to 6-3 Jil Vaughan (16 points, 16 rebounds) and through 6-2 Rachael Mack, who was called on to control Bowdoin’s post threat, Jill Hendrikson (9 points, 6 rebounds.)

“I think their size intimidated us in the first half. We just needed to get past that and we were fine,” saidBowdoin coach Adrienne Shibles. “All the league games are critical, but it’s certainly a good confidence builder for us to beat a team that size by that margin after being down.”

Colby, which had shot 39 percent from the floor in the first half, cooled to 22 percent in the second to finish the game at 29. Conversely, Bowdoin hit 57.9 percent to finish the game at 43.2 percent.

“We need to focus on every moment of every play. When we start thinking outcomes, we don’t play as well,” said first-year Colby coach Julie Veilleux. “I think on a team that’s had the success this team has had, players might start putting a little pressure on themselves. It will take a little more time to work on that thought process.”

After Donahoe pushed Bowdoin (14-5, 4-2) into the lead, the Polar Bears’ hot hand translated to a 21-10 run the rest of the way.

“In the second half they started heating up, got hot and we went cold,” said Colby point guard Diana Manduca, who had 10 points. “Momentum flipped in the second half. They shot well, they hit key shots.”

Veilleux admired Manduca’s play, considering the Mules were without sixth-man Jayde Bennett, who missed the game with an injury. Bennett typically plays a key role in spelling Manduca. Saturday, Manduca played 37 minutes in the face of Bowdoin’s taxing pressure defense.

“When she plays like she did today, she’s huge,” said Veilleux, herself a former Cony and UMaine star. “She kept her composure and led us in ways that we needed to be led. If she didn’t show up, it would have been a whole other ballgame.”

The game was a homecoming of sorts for Veilleux, who returned to Bowdoin for the first time since serving as Stefanie Pemper’s assistant from 2005-2008. Veilleux followed Pemper to Navy in 2008 before taking the Colby job in June.

“It’s a little strange to be back, but it didn’t get too crazy emotionally,” she said. “I think it’s great we can play in a gym like this and have a rivalry like we do.”


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