Springfield, Mass. -- February 19, 2011 -- Abby Connors netted a game-high 17 points to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a 61-54 win over Wellesley College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday.
Connors, who along with teammate Rachelle Walker was playing in her final regular season home game, came through in the clutch for the Pride in the overtime session.
Springfield improves to 12-13, 12-6 in league play, while Wellesley evened its record to 12-12, 9-9. Springfield finished the season in a tie for third place in the standings with Smith, but due to the Pioneers sweep of the Pride this season, Springfield will be seeded fourth in the upcoming NEWMAC Championship and will play fifth-seeded Wellesley at 7:00 pm on Wednesday evening.
Connors tallied 17 points and five assists, both game-high's, to pace the hosts. Megan Biondolillo came off the bench to register 14 points, including four three-pointers, while Kelly Murphy added nine points and seven rebounds. Emily Walker also hauled in 14 rebounds for Springfield.
For Wellesley, four players recorded double figures in the scoring column, with Becca Kimball leading the way with 13 points, five boards, and three helpers. Malia Maier notched 12 points, eight rebounds, eight steals, and four assists, while Elisha Orama recorded 11 points. Ashleigh Sargent chipped in with 10 points, and Leslie Leong pulled down 11 rebounds.
Springfield shot 22-57 (38.6%) for the game, while the Blue hit 22-73 attempts (30.1%). Springfield held a slight 46-44 edge on the boards, but turned the ball over 20 times compared to 13 Blue miscues. The teams combined to attempt 55 three-pointers, making just 14.
The Blue opened a five-point lead at the 7:26 mark when Sargent connected on a bucket inside to give the visitors a 16-11 edge. The Pride responded with an 8-2 run, fueled by five points from Connors, to earn a 19-18 advantage. A three in the corner by Biondolillo with 1:24 remaining would give Springfield's its largest lead of the half, a 24-21 lead. Kimball then scored inside with 18 seconds remaining to make it a 24-23 contest heading into the half. Despite shooting 40% from the floor, Springfield didn't' do itself any favors committing 11 turnovers in the frame, which Wellesley turned into 10 points.
After Connors drilled a deep jumper at the 13:28 mark of the second half, Springfield held a comfortable eight point lead, 36-28. However, the Pride would experience a serious drought as the Blue poured on a 16-0 run over the next 9:12 to open up a 44-36 lead of its own. Murphy finally broke the scoreless spell with a three, which kick started an 8-0 Springfield burst which evened the game at 44. Sargent put the hosts up two after a jumper in the paint, only to have Rachel Landon put back a Connors miss with 49 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
Malia gave Wellesley its final lead of the afternoon after she buried a triple 1:23 into the overtime session. Springfield used back-to-back threes by Connors and Biondolillo 32 seconds apart to snag the lead for good. A Maier runner in the paint brought the Blue within one at 52-51 with 2:18 left, but Connors delivered a beautiful feed to Landon on the ensuing possession to put SC back up three. Connors then stole the ball on the Blue's next offensive trip and Springfield hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to clinch the conference victory.