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Women's Basketball Edges Smith, 65-58

Rachelle Walker Box Score

Springfield, Mass. -- January 21, 2009 -- Corey Finch scored 20 points and added 12 rebounds to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a 65-58 victory this evening over Smith College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference contest at Springfield's Blake Arena. With the win, Springfield is now 9-7 overall, and remains unbeaten at 4-0 in the NEWMAC. Smith falls to 7-8 overall, 1-4 in league play.

Springfield has now won five of its last six, and remains one of two unbeaten teams in NEWMAC play. (WPI is the other at 5-0).

The first half was a real back-and-forth affair. There were nine ties and five lead changes. Finch, a senior forward from Hanover, Pa., scored eight of her 20 points in that half. Springfield had actually taken a 14-6 lead out of the gate over the first six minutes as freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) hit two free throws. But the game was destined to be tied at 16-all, 18-all, 20-all, 23-all, 25-all, and 27-all when SC senior center Liz Brosseau (Franklin, Mass.) made a lay-up with 2:09 left. A free throw by Murphy with 1:30 left, and two more by Brosseau with 1:19 left ended the scoring in that half with Springfield leading by three (30-27) at the intermission.

In the second half, Springfield jumped out to an 8-point lead at 41-33 when senior center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) made a short jumper with 14:33 left. But Smith was far from through. When junior guard Berit Scheld (Holstebro, Denmark) made a lay-up with 8:10 left, Smith took a 44-43 lead.

The score was destined to be tied five more times, the last at 57-all when Smith senior forward Courtney Parker (Ocean City, Md.) made a lay-up with 2:02 left. But then SC sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.) hit a huge three-pointer, her second in just over a minute's time, with 1:46 left. That gave the Pride the lead for good. After a missed Smith jumper, Finch made two free throws with 1:24 left. Murphy added another free throw with 45 seconds remaining, and Finch added two more free throws with 17 seconds left, putting SC up by 8 (65-57).

After Finch's 20, Walker was next for the Pride with 18 points. O'Connor and Murphy each had 6 points. O'Connor and freshman forward Cherelle Allen (New Britain, Conn.) each had 6 rebounds.

For Smith, sophomore guard Jessica Welk (Arlington, Wash.) led with 18 points. She was followed by sophomore guard Anna Veltri (West Milford, N.J.) with 15 points, and Schelde with 12. Junior forward Lisa Marie Vuono (Lyndhurst, N.J.) led her squad with 12 rebounds.

Springfield out-rebounded Smith, 41-37. SC shot .415 from the floor (22-of-53), while Smith shot .377 (23-of-61).

Up next, Springfield travels to WPI on Sat., Jan. 24 for a battle of NEWMAC unbeatens at 2 pm.

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Head Coach Naomi Graves

Naomi Graves Entering her 23rd season as head coach in 2013-14, Naomi Graves has directed her squads to an impressive 323-261 record (.553 winning percentage). Since joining the Division III ranks in 1995, Graves has led the Pride to 12 post-season bids in the past 18 years, including five berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Read more.

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