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Women's Basketball Advances To NEWMAC Final Over Clark, 81-62

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., February 25, 2006 – Tara McCarthy scored a career-high 29 points to lead #1-seeded Springfield College past #4-seeded Clark University, 81-62, in the first semifinal game of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference post-season tournament this afternoon at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.

The win propelled Springfield into the NEWMAC championship game tomorrow at 1 pm, also in Blake Arena, against the winner of semifinal #2. That game pits #2-seeded Mount Holyoke versus #3-seeded WPI later this afternoon.

Springfield is now 21-6 on the season and 2-0 in the NEWMAC Tourney. Clark is now 17-9, and finished 1-1 in the tourney. Springfield has won 15 of its last 17 games overall, and is attempting to win this particular tourney for the 5th time in the last 6 years.

McCarthy, a sophomore guard from Bristol, R.I. and LaSalle Academy, must like to play against the Cougars. Her previous career high was 26 in a game played on January 25th of her freshman season, just one year ago. She scored 18 of her points in the second half to keep Clark at bay. She was 9-of-14 from the floor, 6-of-10 from 3-point range, and 5-of-6 from the line.

McCarthy was one of four double-figure scorers for the Pride. Senior forward and co-captain Courtney Parvin (Brackney, Pa./Montrose Area HS) had 17 points (and 11 rebounds and 4 steals; she was 9-of-10 from the free throw line). Sophomore guard Christine Cotter (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton HS) had 15 points and a game-high 7 assists (scoring 11 of those points in the first half). Freshman center Lauren O’Connor (Valhalla, N.Y./Valhalla HS) added 10 points (and a game-high 14 rebounds).

McCarthy (6) and Cotter (3) scored all 9 of Springfield’s 3-point field goals made. As a team, SC was 9-of-20. Clark, meanwhile, was 2-of-8 from long range.

Clark was led by junior center Ashley Auclair who hails from Western Massachusetts (Williamsburg, Mass./Hampshire Regional HS) with 22 points (and a team-high 8 rebounds). She was followed by senior guard Andrea Comen (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Reg. HS) with 12 (10 in the first half), and junior guard Jess Lamothe (Westboro, Mass./Westboro HS) with 10. Two others scored 8 points apiece. They were freshman forward Sarah Roderigue (Oakland, Maine/Messalonskee HS) and freshman guard Katie McCloskey from nearby Wilbraham, Mass. (Minnechaug HS).

Springfield never trailed in this contest. It took 2 minutes and 13 seconds before anyone scored (a lay-up by Cotter). Auclair quickly tied it at 2-all. With 16:57 left, Cotter then hit a 3-pointer to put SC into the lead for good. When Roderigue made two free throws with 10:56 left, Clark pulled to within two at 15-13. But Springfield then went on a 19-4 run which proved to be the separation point of the game. When Cotter hit another 3-pointer with 4:37 to go in the half, SC led 34-17.

At the half, SC led 40-27, with Comen hitting three jumpers in the last 43 seconds, including one at the buzzer, to keep Clark within 13.

In the second half, McCarthy hit the first of 4 three-pointers with 19:39 left to give SC a 43-27 edge. SC’s lead was up to 20 on three separate occasions in that half, including 64-44 with 8:47 left on a short jumper by O’Connor. Clark cut it to 12 with 4:37 left (68-56) when Lamothe made a conventional 3-point play. But SC outscored the Cougars, 13-6, the rest of the way.

Springfield outrebounded Clark, 53-40. Neither team shot very well, SC .366 (26-of-71), Clark .375 (24-of-64). Springfield shot .741 from the line (20-of-27), while Clark shot .632 (12-of-19). The Cougars turned it over 20 times to the Pride’s 17.

No. 2 Mount Holyoke 62, No. 3 WPI 39

Jonee Billy and Joeanna Silvey scored 17 points each to lead #2-seeded Mount Holyoke College over #3-seeded WPI, 62-39, in the second semifinal game of the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference post-season tournament this afternoon at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.

The win allows Mount Holyoke to meet #1-seeded Springfield in the NEWMAC championship game tomorrow at 1 pm, also in Blake Arena. The winner of that game will receive an automatic NCAA post-season tourney bid. Earlier this afternoon, Springfield defeated #4-seeded Clark, 81-62, in semifinal #1.

With the win, Mount Holyoke is now 20-5, while WPI is 16-10. WPI hopes its season is not over, as it will still be seeking an ECAC post-season tournament berth. Springfield will enter tomorrow’s championship game with a 21-6 overall record.

Billy, a senior center from New York, N.Y. and Environmental Studies HS, scored 11 of her 17 points in the second half when Mount Holyoke pulled away. Billy also had a game-high 12 rebounds. She added 2 assists and 2 blocks, and was 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

Silvey, a junior guard from Boston, Mass. and Thayer Academy, also scored 17 points, 10 of which came in the first half. Silvey also had 6 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 assists. MHC’s next-highest scorer was sophomore forward Marisa Barone (Ludlow, Mass./Wilbraham-Monson HS) with 8 points. Senior guard Christine Godin (Fitchburg, Mass./North Middlesex Reg. HS) tallied 7 points. Junior guard Angela Astuccio (Foxboro, Mass./Foxboro HS) was credited with 10 rebounds to go along with her 6 points and 3 assists.

WPI, known for its balanced attack, was led by freshman guard Caitlin Macko (Cromwell, Conn./Cromwell HS) with 9 points. Freshman center Michelle Perry (Pelham, N.H./Pelham HS) added 8 points. Leading scorer Meghan Pajonas, a junior forward from Southlake, Texas and St. Paul Catholic HS, was held to 5 points.

When Pajonas made a lay-up with 12:57 left in the first half, WPI took its last lead at 9-8. But Billy then proceeded to hit two buckets to put MHC into the lead for good. It was still nip-and-tuck throughout the balance of the first half until the last four minutes or so. When senior guard Ashley Zalucky (Troy, N.Y./Lansingburgh HS) hit two free throws for WPI with 4:03 left, the Engineers were within one at 18-17. But then MHC scored the last six points to take a 24-17 advantage into the half.

At the half, MHC had outrebounded WPI, 20-15. WPI shot just .261 from the floor (6-of-23), while Mount Holyoke shot .407 (11-of-27).

In the second half, WPI cut the margin to 6 when Perry made a hoop with 18:56 to go. Later, a Godin jumper made it 38-26, Mount Holyoke, with 13:08 left.

WPI had one more run at the Lyons, cutting it to 41-34 with 9:32 left on a Macko lay-up. But Mount Holyoke closed it out with a 21-5 run to put the Engineers away.

For the game, MHC outrebounded WPI, 46-33. WPI did not improve its shooting in the second half, finishing at .263 (15-of-57). Mount Holyoke shot .426 overall (23-of-54). Neither team shot well from 3-point range to say the least. Mount Holyoke was 2-for-11, while WPI was 0-for-20.

Earlier this year, Springfield and Mount Holyoke played twice, with the Pride winning close games on both occasions. On Jan. 5 in Blake Arena, SC won, 63-60. On Jan. 31 in South Hadley, Massachusetts, SC won a tremendous game, 86-80, in overtime.

NEWMAC Women’s Basketball Tourney Semifinal Scores:
#1 Springfield 81, #4 Clark 62
#2 Mount Holyoke 62, #3 WPI 39

NEWMAC Final at Springfield’s Blake Arena – Feb. 26
#1 Springfield vs. #2 Mount Holyoke – 1 pm

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