NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's basketball team held visiting Smith College to a 31.1-percent shooting clip during its 62-54 victory in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Monday night in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Lyons, who handed the Pioneers just their second loss in six games, won for the second straight game to improve to 8-9 overall and 5-5 in league play. Smith fell to 9-7 and 6-4.
Wheaton junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) paced a balanced scoring attack with 15 points to go along with five rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) had 14 points and six rebounds, while freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) matched a season high in points with 14 to alongside five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, CT/Trinity Catholic) had a game-high-tying six assists and three steals, and sophomore Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) added six boards.
Freshman Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H./Portsmouth) led Smith with 16 points, while sophomore Lizzy BelBruno (Hanover, N.H./Hanover) and freshman Sydney Parkmond (Waterbury, Conn./Chase Collegiate School) tacked on 12 and 10 points, respectively, with BelBruno adding four steals. Freshman Marissa Munoz-Ruiz (Fairfield, Calif./Justin-Siena) notched six assists.
In the opening half, the hosts held a commanding 21-10 rebounding advantage while shooting 48 percent from the floor. Smith shot just 31 percent but forced 14 Lyon turnovers. Wheaton and the Pioneers experienced eight lead changes and five ties during the opening 20 minutes, as neither team led by more than three points until a Barbera triple gave the hosts a 21-15 advantage at 6:50. The visitors responded on a 7-0 run during a 1:30 spurt for a 22-21 edge. From there, the Blue and White finished the half on an 8-2 spurt for a 29-24 lead at the break.
Outside of a 35-all tie with 15:11 remaining, Wheaton led the entire second half, including holding a 33-26 advantage at the 19:04 mark. The Pioneers answered with nine of the game's next 11 points to knot things up before the Lyons scored seven straight for a 42-35 edge at 11:42. Smith got as close as 45-44 with 5:30 to play before four straight free throws extended the Wheaton lead to five. Clinging to a 50-47 edge with less than two minutes left, the hosts put the game away with five consecutive points and a 55-47 cushion at 1:04.
Wheaton travels to nationally-ranked Babson College on Wednesday for a 7:00 p.m. tip. The Beavers are ranked sixth in the country according to the most recent D3hoops.com poll.