Lyons fall to defending league champion Babson in NEWMAC opener

BABSON PARK, MA- In a rematch of last year's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament title game, the Wheaton College women's basketball team dropped a 70-58 decision to host Babson College during Wednesday night's league opener for both squads in Staake Gymnasium. 

The Lyons slip to 1-4, while the Beavers, who are receiving a national vote in the latest D3hoops.com poll, improved to 4-1.

Freshman Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) paced a trio of double-figure scorers with a season-high 12 points, shooting 5-of-8 in just 13 minutes.  Seniors Jenny Champney (Bedford, MA/Bedford) and Ida Kruse (Vershire, VT/Rivendell Academy) each went 5-of-11 for 10 points, with Champney adding six rebounds and three steals, while classmate Andrea Bailey (Needham, MA/Needham) recorded a game-best eight assists.

Babson freshman Allanah Wynn (Quincy, MA/Milton Academy) led all scorers with 15 points, junior Becky Bowman (Melrose, MA/Arlington Catholic) had 14, while sophomore Nicole Wurdeman (Rowley, MA/Triton Regional) and freshman Sarah Collins (Weymouth, MA/Weymouth) turned in double-doubles.  Wurdeman posted 13 points and 10 boards, and Collins turned in 11 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.

Trailing 9-5 in the early going, Wheaton used an 11-6 run to lead 16-15 at the midway point of the opening half, but Babson responded with a 13-2 spurt over 3:25 and a 28-18 advantage at 4:40.  Consecutive three-pointers from senior Stephanie Walker (Somers, CT/Somers) and Barbera trimmed the Lyon deficit to four, and another Walker triple in the waning seconds brought Wheaton to within 37-33 at the half.

A Champney lay-up at the 17:22 mark of the second frame kept the visitors within striking distance at 42-37 before a 10-3 Babson run provided the hosts with a double-digit lead, one they would retain for the bulk of the half.  Trailing 52-43 with just over 13 minutes to go, Wheaton succumbed to a 10-1 Beaver stretch that put the Lyons in a 62-44 hole at 7:56.  The Blue and White didn't go quietly, narrowing the gap to eight at the three-minute mark, but five straight Babson points over the next minute iced the victory.

Wheaton finishes its five-game road swing on Saturday at league foe United States Coast Guard Academy.  Game time in New London, Connecticut, is set for 1:00 p.m.

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