January 29, 2011

Blistering start lifts visiting Wheaton past Coast Guard, 73-50

NEW LONDON, Conn. - A blistering 16-0 start to Saturday afternoon's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game at the United States Coast Guard Academy helped lift the Wheaton College women's basketball team to a 73-50 triumph over the Bears in Merriman Gymnasium.

Winners in three of their last four conference games, the Lyons moved into a four-way tie for fourth place in the league standings, improving to 6-6 with a 9-10 overall mark.  Coast Guard dropped its 13th straight contest to fall to 2-15 and 0-12.

Thirteen different Lyons cracked the scoring column, as the visitors shot 51.8 percent for the game and a sizzling 64.7 percent beyond the three-point stripe.  Wheaton's 11 threes rank tied for third in program annals.  Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) led the pack with 14 points and four steals, as her pair of three-point baskets moved her into sixth place on the school's all-time list.  Freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) approached a double-double with 10 points and eight assists.

Sophomore Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) knocked down three triples for nine points, junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) contributed eight points and four rebounds, while junior Nicole Cullinane (Rindge, N.H./New Hampton School) had seven markers.

The only bright spot for Coast Guard came from freshman Larla Brown (Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood Park), who finished with a game-high 24 points, five boards and three assists.

From the outset, Wheaton set the tone with a furious pace, knocking down seven of its first 10 shots for the 16-point advantage by 15:08.  In contrast, the Bears missed their first five shots while committing seven turnovers prior to their first bucket, which came at 14:04.  A Cullinane trey at 10:45 made the score 25-5 and the route was on, as the Lyons extended their lead to 34-12 with 6:12 showing.  Pierce's three with 57 ticks to go provided Wheaton with its largest advantage of the frame at 43-20, which held up heading into the break.

Leading 48-26 at the 18:05 mark of the second stanza, the Blue and White ripped off seven straight points to gain the game's biggest lead up to that point at 55-26.  The Lyons twice matched the 29-point margin, enjoying a 66-37 cushion with 6:27 left.  Coast Guard narrowed its deficit to 21 points but it proved to be too little too late.

The Blue and White is home on Wednesday and will face league school Clark University in the back end of a doubleheader at 7:30 p.m.  At halftime of that game, Wheaton will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD).

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