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Valiant Second-Half Rally Falls Short as Wheaton Holds Off Women's Basketball, 67-64

Amelia Sapowsky Box Score

Springfield, Mass. -- December 12, 2009 -- Senior forward Ida Kruse scored 19 points and added seven rebounds to lead her Wheaton College women's basketball team to an exciting 67-64 victory over Springfield College this afternoon in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game at SC's Blake Arena.

With the win, Wheaton upped its record to 4-5 overall, and 3-1 in NEWMAC play. Springfield fell to 3-5 overall, and 2-2 in the league.

The Lyons managed to hold on, thwarting a furious second-half comeback by the Pride. SC trailed by 13 at the half (36-23), and by as many as 18 points (43-25) with 17:41 remaining,. SC still trailed by 14 with less than 4:50 left, but fought all the way back to make it a two-point game (66-64) when freshman guard Meghan Biondolillo (Levittown, N.Y.) hit a deep 3-pointer from straightaway with 12 seconds left.

Springfield sophomore guard Andrea Butler (Cohoes, N.Y.) then was forced to foul Lyons' senior guard Stephanie Walker (Somers, Conn.), who had just made two free throws with 19 seconds left. Butler fouled out on the play. This time, however, Walker made the first, but missed the second, keeping it a one possession game. Pride freshman guard Briana Freymuth (Bolton, Conn.) corraled the rebound and fed the ball to junior co-captain Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.), who, despite being down by three points, decided to take it to the hoop. Her difficult lay-up attempt from the left-hand side of the lane missed its target, and Freymuth fouled Walker on the rebound with 1.8 seconds left. Walker missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but Kruse, who hails from Vershire, Vt., came up with her seventh rebound to clinch the win.

Two others finished in double figures for the Lyons. They were Walker with 14, and sophomore forward Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J.) with 10. Senior forward Jenny Champney (Bedford, Mass.) finished with eight points, all in the first half, and thus is still four points shy of becoming just the 11th player in Wheaton College women's basketball history to score 1000 points. Senior guard Andrea Bailey (Needham, Mass.) scored six points and was credited with a game-high 12 assists.

For Springfield, junior center Amelia Sapowsky (Ware, Mass.) had her best game as a collegian with a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds. She was 10-for-14 from the field. Behind her were two others in double figures, including Biondolillo with 17 points and six rebounds, and sophomore guard and co-captain Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) with 13 points and four assists.

Springfield outrebounded Wheaton 34-33. The Lyons shot .481 from the field (26-for-54), including .536 in the first half (15-for-28). The Pride shot .458 from the floor (27-for-59), including .548 in the second half (17-for-31).

The Pride will return to action on Tuesday evening as it hosts Amherst, which is currently ranked second in the nation in Division III. Tip off is slated for 7:00 pm in Blake Arena.

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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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