NORTON, MA- Springfield College freshman Meghan Biondolillo's (Levittown, NY/Island Trees) three-pointer from the left wing as time expired proved to be the difference on Saturday, as the Pride posted a thrilling 59-56 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball victory over host Wheaton College in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Lyons, who had beaten Springfield four straight times in Norton entering today, fell into a tie with the Pride at 10-4 in league play to go alongside a 13-8 overall record. The Pride, which won for the eighth time in its last nine games, improved to 12-9 and 10-4.
Senior Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) provided 13 points and eight rebounds in the loss, while freshman Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) had 11 points. Senior Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) dished out 10 assists, and freshman Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, MA/Holyoke) pulled down seven rebounds.
Juniors Abby Connors (Douglas, MA/Douglas) and Amelia Sapowsky (Ware, MA/Granby) combined to tally 40 of Springfield's 59 points, with each scoring 20. Connors made 7-of-10 from the field, including going a perfect 6-of-6 from three-point territory, while Sapowsky shot 9-of-14 with eight rebounds. Sophomore Kelly Slattery (Somers, CT/Suffield Academy) grabbed a game-best 12 boards.
With time ticking down, Pride sophomore Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, NY/Mechanicville) drove and drew the Wheaton defense into the lane before finding an open Biondolillo on the left wing for the winner. Springfield's first lead of the half came on Connors' jumper at 3:28, giving the visitors a 54-53 edge, before Sapowsky's lay-in 49 seconds later made it a three-point game. Freshman Jeana Trimboli's (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) three at 2:02 knotted the score at 56.
The Lyons had a solid start to the second half, completing a 12-0 run that began in the opening period to capture the game's largest advantage at 40-31 with 16:24 to play. Wheaton held a 45-38 lead with under 13 minutes remaining before the Pride responded with five straight points to trail 45-43 at 12:27. Trimboli's conventional three-point play pushed the Lyon advantage out to five with 9:15 left. Springfield answered with back-to-back hoops, and the margin stayed within four points the rest of the way.
Neither team led by more than three points in the opening half until Barbera's second three made the score 13-9 in Wheaton's favor at 12:54. The Lyons eventually extended their lead to 18-12 following a trio of Barbera free throws at 10:58 before the Pride answered with an 8-0 run in just 56 seconds, as Springfield shot 8-of-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from deep up to that point.
The game remained tight through the remainder of the half, as the teams experienced five ties before a Connors three made it 31-28 Springfield at 3:22. However, those were the final points the Pride would score until 16:07 of the second frame, as lay-ups from senior Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) at 3:04 and Champney with 33 ticks left gave the hosts a 32-31 edge at the break. Barbera paced Wheaton with 11 points, while Sapowsky and Connors had 12 and nine, respectively, for the Pride.
The Lyons head to Cambridge on Wednesday for a conference game against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 8:00 p.m.