WATERVILLE, Maine --- Thomas College struggled out of the gates in each half, falling to New England College, 77-43, in North Atlantic Conference women's basketball play on Saturday afternoon at Larry Mahaney Gymnasium.
The Pilgrims (11-6, 5-5 NAC) scored the game's first eight points before Jordan Agger-Barnes (South Portland, Maine / Wells) got the Terriers (2-15, 1-9 NAC) on the board with a layup at the 7:40 mark of the first quarter. NEC followed immediately with a 17-2 run to lead 25-4 before Thomas rattled off four straight points to close out the quarter. Marjani Lillard scored 10 points in the frame.
It was the second time in three outings that the Terriers found themselves faced with an early deficit.
The game evened out in the second quarter as the Pilgrims went to their bench. NEC outscored Thomas, 15-14, to take a 40-22 lead at halftime.
The Pilgrims added to their lead in the third quarter as NEC's starting five played most of the period. The visitors shot 58.8 percent (10-of-17) compared to Thomas' 16.7 percent (2-of-12) while outscoring the Terriers, 24-7, en route to a 64-29 lead headed to the final frame.
Thomas outscored NEC, 14-13, in the final quarter as NEC substituted liberally.
NEC finished the game shooting 45.1 percent (32-of-71) from the field and held a slight 43-38 edge in rebounding. The Pilgrims also had five three-pointers and pressured the Terriers into 20 turnovers defensively.
Thomas was limited to 28.3 percent (15-of-53) shooting while connecting on 12 of 17 free throw attempts.
Lillard led all players with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Utshana Durham added 14 points. Of the 15 NEC players to see the floor, 13 found the scoring column.
Senior Katie McAllister (Pittston, Maine / Gardiner Area) scored a team-high 15 points with six rebounds. She was also a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line. Junior Tess McClenahan (Salmon, Idaho / Salmon) added 12 points and three rebounds, while Agger-Barnes hauled in a game-high 12 boards.
Thomas hits the road next weekend to face Johnson State and Lyndon State in their second trip to the Green Mountain State this season. The Terriers face the Badgers at 5:30 p.m. Friday, then take on the Hornets at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. New England College will host Husson (Friday, 5:30 p.m.) and Maine Maritime (Saturday, 1 p.m.) next weekend.