Springfield, Mass. - January 7, 2009 - Senior center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) scored a game-high 21 points, including her 1,000th career point (see photo)as the Springfield College women's basketball team opened up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference play with an 83-55 win over Wellesley on Wednesday evening at Blake Arena.
With the win, the Pride evened its record at 6-6, 1-0 in league play, while the Blue dropped to 5-3, 0-1 as they played their first game in over a month.
O'Connor, who entered the game with 999 career points, wasted no time as she hit a lay-up just 1:12 into the game. She became the 13th player in program history to hit the career milestone, and now stands 11th all-time in Springfield scoring history with 1,020 points.
Springfield raced out to a 12-2 lead after a fast-break bucket by Cherelle Allen (New Britain, Conn.), forcing a timeout by the visitors.
However, the Pride continued to pour on the pressure as they went on to lead by as many as 25 in the opening stanza, shooting 50% from the floor. With the teams heading to their locker rooms at the half, Springfield held a 43-20 advantage. The Pride defense forced 16 turnovers in the first half and held the Blue to just 28.6% shooting in that opening frame.
The second half was the same story as Springfield went on to lead by as many as 34.
O'Connor finished with 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with a team-high nine rebounds and three steals. Sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.) had a game to remember as well, as she poured in a career-best 20 points to go along with a career-high eight assists. She also added four rebounds and four steals. Senior forward Corey Finch (Hanover, Pa.) chipped in with 11 points and seven rebounds, while freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) rounded out the double-figure scoring with 11 points and four assists.
For Wellesley, Jessica Duff (Milton, Abingdon, U.K.) continued her impressive play as she posted team-bests in points and rebounds with 18 and 14, respectively. Julia Thomas (Concord, Calif.) also notched 13 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Wellesley finished with 25 turnovers in the game and was held to just 3-of-19 from downtown.
Springfield returns to action on Monday night when it travels to take on nationally-ranked Amherst. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 pm.
Lauren O'Connor and Head Coach Naomi Graves after O'Connor tallied her 1,000th career point