NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - Despite suffering a 56-48 loss in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Smith College's Ainsworth Gymnasium, Wheaton College remained tied for sixth in the league standings, as the Lyons are vying for one of six conference tournament spots with two regular season games to play.
Tied with Clark University at 7-9 in league play, Wheaton is 10-13 overall. A winner of four straight NEWMAC games, Smith moves to 13-9 and 10-6.
Wheaton junior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) continued her solid play with game-high-tying totals of 17 points and nine rebounds, as she went 8-of-14 from the field along with three steals. Sophomore Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) added eight points, while classmate Natasha Colon Ortiz (Holyoke, Mass./Holyoke) pulled down seven rebounds.
For Smith, freshman Rosa Drummond (Rye, N.H./Portsmouth) shot 7-of-11 for 17 points to go alongside four steals. Sophomore Amanda Zakoske (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) chipped in with 13 points, junior Ellie Giles (Charlottesville, Va./Saint Anne's-Belfield School) grabbed nine boards, while sophomore Devon Quattrocchi (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster) dished out seven assists.
Only a combined 44 points were scored in the opening half, with the hosts clinging to a 23-21 edge. Three lead swings and a trio ties ensued during the first five minutes, as Smith held an 11-9 advantage at 15:07. A scoring drought took place from there, as Smith's hoop at 12:26 proved to be the only bucket during a 6:21 span. Wheaton forged three ties the rest of the frame but wasn't able to grab a lead, as a Pioneer lay-in with three ticks showing was the difference.
A fast start to the second half for Smith put the hosts up 32-21. In addition to the Pioneers going on a 9-0 run to begin the stanza, the hosts held the Lyons off the board until 14:27. After a Wheaton basket made the score 32-23, Smith immediately answered with seven straight points and a comfortable 39-23 cushion at 12:39.
The visitors didn't go away quietly, scratching all the way back to within one, as they outscored the Pioneers by a count of 25-10 to trail 49-48 with 2:36 left. However, the Lyons didn't score again, as Smith tallied the game's final seven points.
Wheaton heads to Wellesley College for a critical conference clash on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.