NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College women's basketball team capped its five-game homestand on a high note Wednesday night, cruising to a 64-39 win over Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game in Emerson Gymnasium. The Lyons have taken 14 straight meetings from the Engineers.
Wheaton, which is now 9-5 overall and 6-1 in conference play, notched its third seven-game winning streak in as many seasons. MIT dropped its eighth straight to fall to 2-11 and 0-7.
Freshman reserve Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, MA/Holyoke) led the way with a season-best 13 points and six rebounds. Senior Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) recorded 10 points and six boards, while classmate Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) and freshman Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) pulled down seven rebounds apiece. Senior Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) dished out seven assists.
MIT freshman Laura Sascha Brown (Seattle, WA/Nathan Hale) paced all scorers with 17 points after shooting 7-of-11, while classmate Aparna Sud (Wellesley, MA/Dana Hall School) added nine points, five rebounds, three assists and a trio of steals.
A game-opening 24-4 Wheaton run set the tone early, as the Lyons knocked down nine of their first 13 shots by 10:32. Ortiz had a scoring burst of seven points in 54 seconds to propel the hosts. Ortiz's seventh point in the run made the score 11-4 before a pair of threes by senior Stephanie Walker (Somers, CT/Somers) and a Bailey triple quickly extended the lead to 20-4. The Blue and White closed the frame on a 12-3 spurt en route to a 36-9 halftime advantage.
An Ortiz lay-up at 12:14 of the second half pushed Wheaton's lead out to 52-17, its first of two game-best 35-point differentials. Trailing 61-26 with 5:30 to go, MIT scored 13 straight points to get to within 22 at 24 seconds before a Barbera three finished the scoring. The Lyons held a sizable 44-25 rebounding advantage while committing just 11 turnovers, while the Engineers turned the ball over a mere six times but shot 30.9 percent.
Wheaton hits the road for the first time in over a month on Saturday, when the Lyons travel to Northampton to take on league opponent Smith College at 2:00 p.m.