February 5, 2011

Road comeback at Springfield falls short as Lyons suffer 70-66 setback

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's basketball team whittled its double-digit halftime deficit down to two points with 26 ticks on the clock before falling short of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) foe Springfield College by a 70-66 count on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena.

Both teams are now 9-12, but Wheaton slips to 6-8 in league play while the Pride are 9-5.

Shooting a solid 48.3 percent from the field, the Lyons made just 27.8 percent of their three-point attempts.  Junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) recorded her second straight double-double and fourth of the season with game highs of 19 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.  Her steal total is a career best.  She also shot 9-of-14.

Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) accounted for 14 points, while freshman Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) neared a double-double with 12 markers and a season-high nine assists.

Springfield senior Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass./Douglas) and junior Kelly Slattery (Somers, Conn./Suffield Academy) contributed 16 points apiece, and junior Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y./Mechanicville) added 14 markers and six assists.

The Pride jumped out to a 7-0 lead before extending its advantage to 18-6 by the 14:08 mark of the first half.  The Lyons bounced back with a 9-2 run to get within five at 20-15 approaching the midway point of the stanza.  Trimboli accounted for Wheaton's final seven points in that stretch.  Leading 28-21 with less than seven minutes showing, the hosts went on a 9-2 spurt of their own to lead 37-23 at 4:06.  Springfield held a 42-27 cushion with 2:05 on the clock before the Blue and White scored the half's final five points.

A 12-2 Wheaton run to open the second frame narrowed the gap to five at 44-39 with 17:34 remaining.  The Lyons remained within striking distance over the course of the half, including converting a conventional three-point play from sophomore Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) that made the score 66-63 in Springfield's favor with one minute to play.  Following a Pride freebie, DePalo's lay-in with 26 seconds left made it a one-possession game, but Springfield iced the game after hitting three of four from the charity stripe.

The Lyons look to get back on track against visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.  Wheaton will take part in the fight against breast cancer through the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative.

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