BIDDEFORD, ME- The Wheaton College women's basketball team trailed by one point with fewer than 13 minutes remaining before host University of New England pulled away for a 69-60 victory on Sunday at the Campus Center. The Lyons dropped their third straight contest in slipping to 1-3 but stayed close with the Nor'easters, who downed 13th-ranked University of Southern Maine on November 17. The hosts are now 4-2.
Senior Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) led Wheaton with a career-high 17 points and a team-high-tying seven rebounds, while classmate Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) had 12 points, seven boards and five steals. Senior Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) shot 4-of-5 from three-point range in tallying 12 points, six assists and six caroms, while freshman Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) canned three threes en route to 13 points. Bailey and Trimboli combined to go 7-of-13 from deep. After going 7-of-16 from three in the opening half, the Lyons missed all seven of their second-period attempts.
Sophomore Kelley Paradis (Newport, ME/Nokomis Regional) notched 17 points and eight rebounds for the hosts, while classmate Margo Russell (Madison, ME/Madison Area) had a double-double of 11 points and 10 boards. Senior Katie Diggins (Merrimack, NH/Merrimack) added 14 points, and junior Lyndie Libby (Buxton, ME/Bonny Eagle) contributed 13 points and five assists. Wheaton shot 39.3 percent to the University of New England's 36.8 percent but was outrebounded, 46-33.
The Lyons twice led by as many as five points, including on a Bailey trey that made the score 18-13 with 10:06 left in the opening half, and another Bailey three knotted the contest at 30 with 1:56 remaining. From there, the University of New England reeled off a 10-2 run that bridged halftime, but Wheaton needed only 25 seconds to turn its 40-32 deficit into a one-point game.
A three-point play by Champney at 15:29 of the second half was followed by a steal and a lay-up nine seconds later by senior Stephanie Walker (Somers, CT/Somers), and Champney's offensive board and putback brought the Lyons within 40-39. However, the Nor'easters scored 10 straight points during a later 2:21 stretch and stayed ahead by at least nine for the remainder of the contest.
Wheaton opens its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) slate on Wednesday at Babson College at 7:00 p.m. in a rematch of last year's league tournament championship game.