NORTON, MA- Seniors Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) and Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) combined to score 27 of the Wheaton College women's basketball team's 47 points on Saturday, leading the Lyons to a 47-44 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) victory over Smith College on Senior Day in Emerson Gymnasium.
With the win, Wheaton assured itself of a home playoff game for the fourth consecutive year while remaining in a tie for third with Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in the league standings. The Blue and White is now 14-9 overall and 11-5 in the conference, while Smith fell to 12-9 and 9-7.
Bailey led all scorers with 17 points, shooting 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point territory and 4-of-5 at the free throw line, to go alongside six rebounds and three steals. Freshman Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) drained a trio of three-pointers for 12 points with three assists, while Champney tallied 10 points and five boards. Senior Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) and freshman Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, MA/Holyoke) each grabbed six rebounds, as only five players got into the scoring column.
Senior Berit Schelde (Holstebro, Denmark/Falkonergaardens) scored 13 points for the visitors, and sophomore Ashani Petrizzi (Deerfield, MA/Greenfield) contributed nine points and eight rebounds. Junior Anna Veltri (West Milford, NJ/DePaul Catholic) accounted for seven points, five rebounds and five assists, while senior Lisa Marie Vuono (Lyndhurst, NJ/Montclair Kimberley Academy) added nine boards and four steals.
Bailey and Champney carried the Lyons early, combining to score 13 of their initial 15 points for a 15-7 advantage at 11:44 of the opening half. Smith answered with a 9-0 run to lead 16-15 with 8:42 to go while holding Wheaton without a field goal for 6:22. Trimboli's three capped a 7-0 spurt for a 22-16 Lyon lead at 5:20, but the Pioneers responded with six straight points to knot the score at 22 before a Bailey three at 2:07 made it 25-22. Wheaton held a 25-23 halftime lead, with Bailey and Champney combining for 18 points.
The second half was tight throughout, as the Blue and White's 30-25 lead 2:42 in proved to be the largest for either team. Six straight Pioneer points put the visitors in front 31-30 with a little more than 14 minutes to play, and Smith eventually had a 36-32 advantage nearing the 11-minute mark. The Lyons started the half on a cold spell, making just three of their first 18 shots while finding themselves in a 39-35 hole.
Wheaton used an 8-0 run to take a 43-39 edge and the lead for good, stymieing the Smith attack in holding the Pioneers to one field goal during the last 10:48. Three free throws brought the visitors within one at 43-42 with 1:56 to go before a Trimboli lay-in 18 seconds later pushed the Lyon lead back out to three. Smith again narrowed its deficit to one and had a chance to win the game in the waning seconds, but a baseline jumper with seven ticks left fell short. Bailey's two freebies with 3.3 seconds to play completed the scoring.
The Lyons play in their regular season home finale on Wednesday against Wellesley College at 7:30 p.m. The night will feature a Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone event and National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD). The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.