Springfield, Mass. -- January 29, 2009 -- Corey Finch scored 13 points and pulled down 8 rebounds to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a hard-fought 57-51 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game tonight at Springfield's Blake Arena. With the win, the Pride moves to within a half-game of the league leader, WPI. Springfield is now 10-8 overall, 5-1 in league play. Clark falls to 7-11 overall, 3-3 in the conference.
The game was a make-up, supposed to be played last night. It was postponed, however, by the snowstorm.
Finch, a senior forward from Hanover, Pa., was 6-of-13 from the floor, and added 2 assists and 1 steal to her point and rebound totals. Following her was senior center Lauren O'Connor (Valhalla, N.Y.) with 11 points and a game-high-tying 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.) added 8 points off the bench. Scoring seven points apiece for the Pride were freshman guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) and sophomore guard Annie Lasek (Southampton, Mass.).
For the Cougars, the leading scorer was freshman forward Ivori Aiken (Harlem, N.Y.) with 11 points. She also had 6 rebounds. Senior guard Sarah Rodrigue (Oakland, Me.) followed with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Three Clark players tallied 6 points each. They were junior forward Jillian Camilleri (Lancaster, Mass.) (with 11 rebounds), freshman forward Kate Minister (Manchester, UK), and senior forward Katelyn Petty (Worcester, Mass.). The assist leader in this game was Clark senior guard Sara Hagstrom (Yarmouth, Me.) with 6.
Neither team shot very well in this contest. The Pride made 22 shots in 60 attempts for a .367 percentage from the floor. Clark, meanwhile, made just 20 of 65 attempts for a .308 percentage. The Cougars outrebounded the Pride, 46-45.
Clark actually shot out of the gate very well tonight, while Springfield could not buy a basket in the early going. When Aiken made a 3-pointer with 12:45 to go in the first half, the Cougars led 14-3. Springfield then scored the next 9 points, cutting the margin to 14-12 with 8:42 to go on a Cherelle Allen (New Britain, Conn.) lay-up. Springfield took its first lead when Finch made a jumper with 4:39 to go in the first half (20-19). Clark's last lead came at 23-22 with 2:59 to go on a 3-pointer by Minister. Springfield finally took a two-point lead with 17 seconds left in the half on a nice lay-up by Lasek, 27-25.
In the second half, Springfield never relinquished the lead, although it was tied at 45-all on a lay-up by Petty with 6:28 to go. SC never led by more than six points to that juncture of the half. Earlier, Connors had made a 3-pointer, giving SC a 45-41 lead with 11:37 left. But points scored proved to come at a premium after that. Springfield did not score another field goal until Murphy made a lay-up with 4:01 left, making it, 48-45, SC. After that, Connors made two free throws with 3:22 left, upping it to 50-45, Springfield.
Rodrigue matched that with two free throws of her own with 2:22 left. But SC's Murphy then made a 3-pointer with 1:56 left, giving Springfield a 6-point edge, 53-47. A lay-up by Lasek gave SC a 55-47 lead with 1:25 left. The 8-point margin was SC's largest of the game. Clark could close it by no more than the final margin of six by game's end.
Springfield will next host Wheaton in an important NEWMAC contest Saturday at 1 pm in Blake Arena.