WELLESLEY, MA- Wheaton College senior point guard Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) broke the program's 21-year-old career assists record on Wednesday at Wellesley College, but the Lyons saw their eight-game winning streak end when a 61-59 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball contest was decided during the final minute in Keohane Sports Center.
Wheaton, which was riding the program's longest winning streak in 14 years, slipped to 10-6 overall and 7-2 in the league after capturing its previous seven NEWMAC contests. The Lyons had also won seven straight against Wellesley. The Blue snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 4-10 and 2-7.
Needing two assists to tie Sharon Morrisseau's '89 mark of 430 helpers, Bailey finished with five assists to go along with 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) shot 10-of-16 with team highs of 20 points and eight boards, while freshman Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, MA/Holyoke) tallied 10 points and six rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench. Sophomore Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, NJ/Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) added six points and six rebounds, including five offensive.
Freshmen Becca Kimball (Weston, MA/Weston) and Malia Maier (Torrance, CA/Palos Verdes Estates) provided the majority of Wellesley's offense, combining for 43 of the squad's 61 points. Maier totaled 22 points, five assists, five steals and three blocks, while Kimball notched 21 points and 11 boards. Classmate Ashleigh Sargent (Bedford, NH/Bishop Brady) contributed nine points and six rebounds for the Blue.
Champney scored the first points of the game on a hoop after just 17 seconds, but Kimball and Maier scored each point during an ensuing 11-0 Blue run, and Wellesley held a nine-point advantage 4:02 into the contest. Wheaton still trailed by a 21-12 count before countering for its first lead since the opening hoop, netting 10 consecutive points to forge ahead, 22-21 on a Colon Ortiz free throw at 6:44. On the prior bucket, tallied by DePalo to make it 21 apiece at 7:18, Bailey provided the record-breaking assist.
However, Blue sophomore Robyn Burleson (Seattle, WA/Lakeside School) nailed a three at 6:21 to give the hosts the lead back, and they carried a 31-26 advantage into the locker room. The teams combined for 24 turnovers in the first half, while Colon Ortiz turned in 10 points to pace Wheaton. Kimball and Maier combined to score all but three of Wellesley's opening-period points.
A Maier three gave the hosts their largest lead at 47-35 with 15:28 remaining in the contest before the Lyons regrouped. Wheaton held the Blue to just two baskets during a 15:03 span, in which time the visitors put together a 22-8 run to snag a 57-55 lead on Champney's baseline jumper with 1:49 left. Bailey scored the first six points of the run, while Champney had 10 points in a stretch of 4:12.
Two Sargent free throws knotted the game at 1:12, but a Champney bucket with 33 ticks remaining gave the Lyons the lead back at 59-57. After a Maier hoop at 23 seconds again provided a tie, she came up with a steal before canning two free throws with 12.3 ticks left. Wheaton had a chance to send the game into overtime, but after inbounding with 1.6 seconds to go, a shot from the baseline was short.
The Lyons cap a three-game road swing on Saturday at Mount Holyoke College with a 2:00 p.m. contest. Wheaton downed Mount Holyoke, 57-46 on January 6.