Springfield, Mass. - February 5, 2011 - The Springfield College women's basketball team never trailed and managed to hold off Wheaton College, 70-66, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup on Saturday afternoon at SC's Blake Arena.
With the win, Springfield raises its record to 9-12 overall, and 9-5 in the NEWMAC. Wheaton falls to 9-12 overall, and 6-8 in the conference. The Pride, with its 9-5 mark, is still third all alone in the conference standings, but now only one game back of second-place WPI.
Springfield was led by senior guard and co-captain Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.) and junior forward Kelly Slattery (Somers, Conn.) with 16 points apiece. Connors was 6-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-5 from 3-point range, and 1-for-2 from the free throw line. She also had two assists and one rebound. Slattery was 5-of-10 from the field and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. She also had five rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
Junior guard and co-captain Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) scored 14 points, including 10 in the first half. Murphy was 4-of-10 from the floor, 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 from the line. She also had six assists and one steal. Junior guard Andrea Butler (Cohoes, N.Y.) finished with five assists and four steals.
Wheaton also had a trio of double-figure scorers, including junior forward Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J.) with a game-high 19 points. Sophomore guard Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn.) added 14 points, and freshman guard Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H.) another 12. DePalo finished with a game-high 10 rebounds and five steals. Pierce added a game-high nine assists.
For the game, Wheaton shot 48.3%, while SC shot 45.8% from the floor. Differences came at the foul line where SC made 17-of-25, while Wheaton only made 5-of-8. At the 3-point line, SC made 9-of-18, while Wheaton went 5-of-18. Wheaton also outrebounded the Pride, 34-28. Springfield finished with 14 turnovers to the Lyons' 18.
The Pride wasted no time seizing control of the game as it jumped out to an early 12-point lead after a pair of Murphy free throws made it 18-6 with 14:08 on the clock. Wheaton clawed its way back behind the play of Trimboli and DePalo as they combined for the visitors' next 11 points to get within five, 22-17, at the 9:47 mark. Springfield responded with an offensive burst over the next 7:42, outscoring the Lyons 20-10, to balloon its lead to 15 (its largest of the afternoon) at 42-27. Wheaton was able to score the final five points of the first half as the teams went into the locker room with the score 42-32.
Springfield shot the ball extremely well in the first half, as it connected on 14 of its 22 attempts (63.6%). Trimboli tallied 14 points, while DePalo added 10, accounting for 75% of the Lyons' points. As for the Pride's first 20 minutes, eight different players scored, with Murphy's 10 points leading the charge.
In the second half, Wheaton cut the margin to four on a few occasions throughout. But a three-point play by sophomore forward Natasha Colon-Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass.) with one minute to go cut the lead down to three points (66-63). A lay-up by DePalo with 26 seconds left cut the margin to two (67-65). Trimboli then fouled Connors, who made one of two free throws. But with 15 seconds left, Wheaton turned it over with Slattery coming up with a big steal. Slattery then made two free throws, making it 70-65 with 14 seconds left. DePalo made a final free throw with three seconds left to cap the scoring.
Springfield will hit the court again on Wednesday evening when it travels to take on Coast Guard at 7:00 pm.