Springfield, Mass. - February 3, 2010 - Behind a complete team effort, the Springfield College women's basketball team shut down rival WPI, 53-37, in a critical New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Wednesday evening.
Fueled by a spirited defensive effort that held the Engineers 22 points below its season average, Springfield improved to 11-9, 9-4 in conference play. WPI drops to 13-7, 9-4 in league action. The win makes both the Pride and Engineers each 9-4 in NEWMAC play. They are now tied for third place in the league standings.
The 37 points allowed was the lowest allowed by the Pride this season, as Springfield avenged a 63-62 overtime loss to WPI earlier in the year.
Kelly Slattery scored a team-best 12 points, while Kelly Murphy chipped in with 11 points. Meghan Biondolillo added 10 points and five rebounds, while Amelia Sapowsky notched seven points and a team-best eight boards. Springfield turned the ball over just 14 times in the game and shot 41.7 % from the floor, including 11-for-20 (55%) in the second half.
The lone bright spot for the Engineers was Elle Fontaine, who recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. Melissa Kuhn added nine points, while Caitlin O'Connor chipped in with seven points. As a team, WPI shot just 21.1% from the floor and committed 19 turnovers. The Engineers did dominate the glass on the evening, owning a 46-35 advantage, including a 23-8 edge on the offensive boards.
Neither team was very effective in the first half as the teams combined to shoot 14-for-60 from the floor. A Sapowsky lay up gave Springfield its biggest lead in the opening stanza, 9-4, just 5:55 in the contest. The Pride eventually went into the locker room up four, 19-15, as both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm. WPI was able to stay close despite shooting 5-for-32, as it grabbed 16 offensive rebounds.
In the opening 4:42 of the second half, Springfield's lead ballooned to nine as Murphy, Abby Connors, and Biondolillo all buried three-pointers to give the hosts a 28-19 advantage. A Slattery bucket inside gave SC a 36-23 advantage, only to have a quick WPI spurt capped off by a Kuhn lay-in cut the visitors' deficit to nine. However, Springfield stood tall down the stretch and eventually led by as many as 17 after a Murphy lay in with the shot clock winding down and 1:08 remaining in the game.
Springfield will have another huge conference game on Saturday afternoon when it travels to take on Wheaton at 2:00 pm. Wheaton is currently in second place in the league standings with a 10-3 conference record.