Springfield, Mass. -- February 25, 2009 -- Corey Finch scored 14 points to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a 69-55 victory over Wellesley College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinal game this evening at Springfield College's Blake Arena. With the win, the Pride is now 16-10 overall, while Wellesley ends its season at 10-12.
Springfield, the #3-seed, thus advances to play a NEWMAC Tourney semifinal game Saturday versus #2-seed Babson at WPI in Worcester. Babson was a 59-35 victor over #7-seed Coast Guard tonight. In fact, all four of the top four seeds won their quarterfinal matches this evening. Also winning were #1-seed WPI over #8-seed Mount Holyoke, 52-42, while #4-seed Wheaton defeated #5-seed Clark, 73-62. The NEWMAC Tourney semifinal games will be played at WPI's Harrington Auditorium Saturday at 12 noon and at 2 pm. The order of the games has yet to be determined.
Finch, a senior forward from Hanover, Pa., who, in all likelihood, was playing in her final home game, was one of four double-figure scorers for the Pride. In addition, senior center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) scored 12 points, followed by freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) and sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.), who each scored 10 points. Walker scored all of her 10 points in the first half.
For Wellesley, senior Julia Thomas (Concord, Calif.) played a valiant final game of her career. She led all scorers with 18 points, and added 8 rebounds. She was 8-of-12 from the floor. She probably would have played more than the 34 minutes she was credited with, except that she turned her ankle for a few minutes and did not play much in the latter stages of the game as a result. Senior Courtney Richter (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and sophomore Katie Frett (Hallowell, Me.) both scored 10 points each for the Blue. Frett led all rebounders with 10.
In that first half, Springfield jumped out to a 12-2 lead in the first 3:08. Finch scored four of those points for the Pride. When Finch hit a lay-up with 11:49 left, SC had its largest lead of the first half at 20-6. With 2:43 left, Murphy made two free throws, giving Springfield a 31-18 edge. But Wellesley outscored SC, 6-2, in the final moments, cutting the lead to just nine points at the half, 33-24. Frett hit a short jumper at the buzzer for the Blue to keep it under 10.
To start the second half, Springfield once again scored 12 of the first 14 points. And with 13:39 to go, following a lay-up by Murphy, the Pride led, 45-26. Springfield kept the Blue at arm's length throughout the entire second half. With 3:26 left, Finch made a short jumper to give SC its largest lead at 62-40. With 1:29 left, SC was still up by 19 at 67-48 following a Murphy free throw. Wellesley outscored Springfield, 7-2, to end the game.
Wellesley was able to stay in the game because of its rebounding. The Blue outrebounded the Pride, 39-29, for the game. Springfield shot .460 from the floor (29-of-63). Wellesley did not shoot quite so well, .420 (21-of-50). Springfield turned it over just 9 times, while Wellesley turned it over 24 times.