NORTON, MA- Senior point guard Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) banked in a 40-foot buzzer-beating heave during overtime to give the Wheaton College women's basketball team a thrilling 64-63 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Saturday in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Lyons, who moved into sole possession of second place in the NEWMAC, provided head coach Melissa Hodgdon with her 100th victory at the school. Wheaton ran its winning streak to six games in improving to 8-5 overall and 5-1 in league play, as 19 of its past 25 meetings with WPI have been decided by eight points or less. Suffering just their third loss in the last 11 games, the Engineers fell to 8-5 and 4-2. Hodgdon, who is in the midst of her seventh season at Wheaton, is now 100-77.
Bailey's winner came off an inbounds play with just 1.5 ticks on the clock. Receiving a football pass from sophomore Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) that carried past midcourt, Bailey caught the ball with a defender at her back, turned to her left and let it fly. The two connected just 8.5 seconds prior, as Bailey's lay-in forged the Lyons to a 61-all tie before a jumper by Engineer junior Melissa Kuhn (Stoughton, MA/Stoughton) set up the final shot.
Bailey neared her first career triple-double with 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Freshman Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) hit four threes for 14 points, senior Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) went for 13 points and eight boards, and classmate Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) notched 12 points.
WPI sophomore Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY/Columbia) made 11 of her 15 shots to finish with a career-high 27 points, as her previous best was 15, while junior Elle Fontaine (Franklin, MA/Bishop Feehan) had a double-double of 14 points and 10 boards. Senior Brittany McNally (Mapleville, RI/Burrillville) added seven rebounds.
Six straight WPI points to begin the second half made the score 36-31 in favor of the visitors before Wheaton forced the game's sixth tie at 38 apiece with 15:31 left. A jumper by senior Stephanie Walker (Somers, CT/Somers) put the Lyons in front 48-42 at 11:32, but the Engineers used a 9-2 run to push ahead 51-50 with 8:53 to go, and neither team led by more than three the rest of the way.
Wheaton shot 56.5 percent in the opening half to WPI's 39.1 percent but only led 31-28 at the break, as the Engineers had eight of their points come from the charity stripe compared to just one for the hosts. Trailing 6-4 at 16:47, the Lyons went on a 15-4 run in just under a seven-minute span to lead 19-10. Bailey had two threes and two assists during the spurt, while five different players scored.
The visitors responded with an 11-1 run for a 21-20 edge with a little more than four minutes to go, as neither team led by more than three during the final 5:56 of the half. Bailey, who contributed seven points, six assists and four boards in the frame, had a hand in eight of Wheaton's 13 field goals. Fontaine paced the Engineers with 10 points.
The Lyons wrap up their five-game homestand against the Engineers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.