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Women's Basketball Cruises Past Coast Guard, 70-37, in Regular-Season Finale; Clinches #3 Seed in NEWMAC Tourney and Will Play Wellesley Wednesday

Andrea Butler Box Score

Springfield, Mass. - February 21, 2009 - Corey Finch scored 13 points and added 12 rebounds to lead her Springfield College women's basketball team to a 70-37 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game this afternoon at Springfield's Blake Arena. With the win, the Pride raises its record to 15-10 overall, 10-3 in the conference, and has clinched the #3 seed in the NEWMAC post-season tournament, which begins next Wednesday night.

Coast Guard falls to 5-20 overall, and 4-9 in league play.

As a result of today's later games, Springfield will play Wellesley, the sixth seed, in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 25 (time still to be determined). Coast Guard will be seeded either seventh or eighth (that result may come down to a coin flip between Coast Guard and Mount Holyoke later today).

It was Senior Day at the Birthplace of Basketball, with Finch, one of three SC seniors honored before the game, leading the charge. A forward from Hanover, Pa., Finch also recorded 3 assists and 4 steals to go along with her team-leading totals of 13 points and 12 rebounds. During the course of the afternoon, Finch scored her 900th career point and picked up her 600th career rebound (she now has 905 and 609). The other two seniors played a more modest role. Center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) scored 4 points and added 6 rebounds in 28 minutes. Forward Liz Brosseau (Franklin, Mass.) added 2 points and 2 rebounds in 14 minutes. Not normally in the starting line-up, Brosseau received the start today.

While the victor proved to be the same, this was a drastically different game from the one played between these two teams on Jan. 14 at Coast Guard, won by Springfield, 47-43. In that game, Coast Guard led about 90 per cent of the time, and Springfield's first lead in the second half came with five seconds to go.

In today's game, Springfield was in control throughout the first half, but never cleared into a real comfort zone. Coast Guard had one lead in the contest, at 3-2 with 18:10 left on a conventional 3-point play by junior forward Melissa Martinelli (Vero Beach, Fla.). But Finch made a short jumper with 17:54 left, and Springfield was in the lead for good. With 2:41 to go, after Martinelli made a lay-up, Coast Guard had cut the margin to three at 27-24. Springfield, however, then scored the half's final seven points -- five by freshman point-guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) -- and SC led, 34-24, at the intermission.

Martinelli was clearly a problem for Springfield at the half. She had scored 17 of Coast Guard's 24 points to that stage of the game.

At the beginning of the second half, Springfield scored the first seven points, five by sophomore guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.) to really take command of the contest. With 14:57 left, after a Walker 3-pointer, SC led, 41-24. The lead just mushroomed from there, with the final 33-point margin the largest of the game for the Pride.

For Springfield, Walker finished with 11 points, Murphy 8. Three others finished with 7 points, including sophomore guard Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.), freshman forward Cherelle Allen (New Britain, Conn.), and freshman guard Andrea Butler (Cohoes, N.Y.) (see photo).

For Coast Guard, Martinelli led all scorers with 21 points. She was 10-of-16 from the field, and 1-of-1 from the free throw line. After that, it was junior guard Sabrina Taylor scoring 6 points. SC outrebounded the Bears, 38-23. Senior guard Chanel Lee (Richmond, Va.) led Coast Guard with 8 boards.

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Naomi Graves Entering her 23rd season as head coach in 2013-14, Naomi Graves has directed her squads to an impressive 323-261 record (.553 winning percentage). Since joining the Division III ranks in 1995, Graves has led the Pride to 12 post-season bids in the past 18 years, including five berths in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Read more.

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