Lyons drop tight decision to visiting Wellesley, 60-58

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's basketball team had a three-pointer just before the final buzzer fall off the mark during a 60-58 loss to New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opponent Wellesley College on Wednesday night in Emerson Gymnasium.

The Lyons slip to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in the NEWMAC, while the Blue had its six-game losing streak come to an end in improving to 8-7 and 5-4.

Junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) notched her second career double-double with 16 points and a game-best 10 rebounds.  Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) turned in 10 points, while classmate Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) hit three threes for nine points with six boards.

Freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) dished out a season-high-tying eight assists, and classmate Sarah Fitzgerald (Bath, Maine/Morse) had six points, five rebounds and three blocks.  Sophomore Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) added seven points and four boards.

For Wellesley, sophomore Malia Maier (Torrance, Calif./Palos Verdes Estates), who entered tonight ranked third in NCAA Division III in steals, filled out the stat sheet with 18 points, seven rebounds, seven steals, five assists and three blocks.  Sophomore Becca Kimball (Weston, Mass./Weston) notched 15 points, while freshman Leslie Leong (Sacramento, Calif./John F. Kennedy) and junior Elisha Orama (Miramar, Fla./American Heritage School) contributed 14 and 10 markers, respectively.

Wheaton lost despite shooting a season-best 48 percent from the field, including 54.5 percent in the second half.  The Lyons also held a 36-24 rebounding advantage but committed 22 turnovers, as Wellesley came away with 13 steals and a 21-11 edge in points off turnovers.

Tonight's opening half was nip-and-tuck, with neither team holding more than a three-point edge until the closing minutes.  Following five lead swings and ties, Wellesley broke a 20-20 deadlock with an 8-2 run, which included a pair of Maier triples.  The Blue eventually carried a 33-27 lead into the locker room.  Maier finished the frame with 16 points, five steals, three assists and three boards.  Wellesley took advantage of Wheaton's 11 giveaways, holding a 10-2 advantage in points off turnovers.

In the second stanza, the visitors maintained a lead until a Fitzgerald jumper at 11:04 made the score 39-38 in the Blue and White's favor.  That was the start of eight lead changes, with Kimball's lay-up at 1:34 serving as the final swing in giving Wellesley a 55-54 edge.  Trailing 60-56 in the waning seconds, a DePalo lay-in made it 60-58 with 13 ticks to go.  Following a Blue miss from the foul line, Wheaton picked up the rebound before calling a timeout for the final shot.

The Lyons continue their three-game homestand on Saturday against conference foe Mount Holyoke College.  Start time is set for 2:00 p.m.

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