Wheaton closes semester on down note as Lyons fall to Springfield, 60-49

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's basketball team was knotted with visiting Springfield College at halftime during a rare Friday night New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game before being outscored 36-25 in the second frame during a 60-49 loss to close out the semester in Emerson Gymnasium.

Wheaton falls to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the NEWMAC, while the Pride, which has won three of its last four games, improves to 3-5 and 3-1.

Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) paced the Lyons with 17 points, while classmate Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) had eight points and six rebounds.  Junior Nicole Cullinane (Rindge, N.H./New Hampton School) turned in seven points and four assists, and classmate Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) added six points and six boards during her return from injury.

Springfield junior Kelly Slattery (Somers, Conn./Suffield Academy) led all scorers with 19 points, going 9-of-14 from the field.  Sophomore Meghan Biondolillo (Levittown, N.Y./Island Trees) and junior Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y./Mechanicville) contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.  Sophomore Emily Walker (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) grabbed a game-best 11 boards, including five offensive, while junior Andrea Butler (Cohoes, N.Y./Cohoes) tallied game highs of 10 assists and four steals.

Six lead swings and a trio of ties transpired in the opening half, with each team leading by as many as five.  Springfield jumped out to a 7-2 advantage 3:22 in before Wheaton answered with six straight points for an 8-7 edge at 15:07.  Four lead changes ensued over the next 5:06, as a 6-0 Lyon run provided the hosts with a 19-14 edge with less than seven minutes to play in the half.  The Pride responded with a 10-2 spurt for a 24-21 lead at 2:54, but Trimboli knocked down a trey with 17 seconds left to make the score 24-all at the break.

In the second half, the visitors shot 51.9 percent from the floor while pulling down seven offensive boards and attempting 13 free throws to Wheaton's one.  A Trimboli lay-up with 13:25 to go knotted things up at 35 apiece before Springfield reeled off nine straight points and didn't look back.  Leading 44-35 at the midway point, the Pride ballooned its edge to 13 on two occasions.  Back-to-back threes by Cullinane and Trimboli whittled the Lyon deficit to five at 54-49 with 2:45 to go but didn't score again, as Springfield tallied the game's final six points.

Wheaton returns to action in 2011, when the Lyons take on Bridgewater State University at the two-day Williams College Winter Classic beginning on Saturday, January 2, at 1:00 p.m.

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