SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- January 17, 2009 -- Powered by senior Corey Finch (Hanover, Pa./Hanover), the Springfield College women’s basketball team picked up a 64-57 triumph over host Mount Holyoke College this afternoon at the Mildred Howard Gymnasium in South Hadley. With its fourth straight victory over the Lyons, the Pride improved to a perfect 3-0 in New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play. Overall, it was Springfield's fourth victory in its last five games.
Finch was dominant for Springfield, which shot 49.1% (26-53) from the floor and 87.5% (7-8) from the charity stripe. The forward poured in a career-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor and also pulled down a team best 11 rebounds to complete the double-double. Ironically, her previous career high of 23 points also came against Mount Holyoke during the 2006-07 campaign. In addition to Finch, three other Springfield starters reached double digits in the scoring column. Sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass./Lee), first year guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y./Mechanicville) and senior center Lauren O’Connor (Valhalla, N.Y./Valhalla) contributed 13, 11, and 10 points, respectively.
Mount Holyoke was limited to just 34.5% (20-58) shooting from the field but converted 91.7% (11-12) of its free throw attempts. The Lyons pulled down 11 offensive rebounds en route to a 34-33 edge on the glass. Senior guard Katie Austen (Mount Sinai, N.Y./Mount Sinai) matched her career high with 22 points to set the tone for the hosts. Junior guard Erin Cain (Quincy, Mass./Fontbonne Academy) drained three shots from beyond the arc en route to 13 points. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Emilie Methot (South Hadley, Mass./Granby) matched her career high with ten points, and first year forward Tricia Chase (Feeding Hills, Mass./Cathedral) piled up a game best 12 boards (9 offensive).
The Lyons scored the first five points of the contest and led 7-5 after a jumper by Methot at the 15:33 mark of the opening stanza. On the ensuing possession, O’Connor converted a conventional three point play to give Springfield its first lead of the day. The Pride proceeded to score the next seven points to build a 15-7 advantage with 11:54 remaining in the half.
Finch then took over, scoring ten points over the final eight minutes of the first frame, as the Pride pushed their lead to 35-21. She recorded 13 of her 27 points before the break. Cain had 10 points in the first half for Mount Holyoke.
Springfield’s cushion ballooned to 39-23 following a layup by O’Connor in the early stages of the second half, but the hosts exploded for 13 straight points to slice the deficit to 39-36 with 12:40 remaining in regulation. Austen tallied seven points on a three pointer, a layup and a pair of free throws to key the rally.
Despite its comeback attempt, Mount Holyoke was unable to gain control of the lead down the stretch. The Lyons pulled to within two points on two occasions over the final nine minutes, but Finch proved to be too much. After a Methot three pointer at the 4:12 mark, the Lyons trailed 49-47. But Springfield closed out the contest with a 15-10 spurt to seal things. Finch registered nine points over the span and had 14 after the intermission. Finch's 14 points in the second half all came in the last 11:39. In fact, she scored 14 of the team's final 25 points. Austen piled up 17 points in the second half for the hosts.
Both squads will take on NEWMAC foes on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Mount Holyoke (3-12, 0-3 NEWMAC) will travel to the Coast Guard Academy, while Springfield (8-7, 3-0 NEWMAC) will host Smith College.