Lyons mount big second-half comeback to upend Mount Holyoke, 54-51

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - Trailing 35-18 early in the second half, the Wheaton College women's basketball team stormed back with 36 of the game's next 52 points to upend host Mount Holyoke College, 54-51 during Wednesday night's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game in Howard Gymnasium.

Winning for the second time in three days, the Lyons raised their overall record to 5-6 and conference mark to 2-3, while Mount Holyoke slipped to 2-8 and 1-4.

For the second straight game, Wheaton put forward a balanced scoring attack.  Junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) and freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) turned in 12 points apiece, with DePalo yanking down a team-high-tying six rebounds and handing out a game-high-tying four assists.

Sophomore Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) finished with nine points and six rebounds, freshman Melissa McLaughlin (Spindale, N.C./R-S Central) notched a season-best nine points with five boards, while sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) added seven points, three assists and three steals.

Mount Holyoke sophomore Angelica Pascual (Lawrence, Mass./Proctor Academy) paced all scorers with 16 points, junior Tricia Chase (Feeding Hills, Mass./Cathedral) contributed 11 markers and six rebounds, while freshman Jennine Vizcaino (New York, N.Y./Northfield Mount Hermon School) had 10 boards and six points.

Five points by three different Lyons provided Wheaton with an early 5-0 edge, but the hosts answered in a big way, using a 20-4 run to build a 20-9 advantage at the 8:25 mark.  After a Blue and White bucket, Mount Holyoke scored six straight to extend its lead to 26-11 with five minutes to go before the break.  A Pierce three at 2:52 cut the Lyon deficit to 10 before the host Lyons went on a 6-0 spurt in doubling up Wheaton, 32-16.  Pierce scored with six seconds left to make it 32-18.

The Lyons trailed 42-28 with just over 14 minutes to play before mounting their comeback.  Wheaton ripped off 12 unanswered during a 2:41 span to get within 42-40, as DePalo posted half of her team's points in the stretch.  The hosts made the score 47-41 at the 9:27 mark but were held to a mere four points the rest of the way, missing nine straight shots while connecting on just one field goal.  The visitors used a 9-0 run to turn their six-point deficit into a 50-47 edge.  Ortiz's lay-up with 7:30 to play gave Wheaton the lead for good.

The Lyons continue their five-game road swing in Worcester on Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. tip against NEWMAC foe Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

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