Lyons dominate the glass, hand Coast Guard its first loss of season 58-43

NORTON, Mass. – Junior Jeana Trimboli (Norwalk, Conn./Trinity Catholic) scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the second half to propel the Wheaton College women's basketball team to a 58-43 win over previously unbeaten Coast Guard Academy in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Wednesday night at Emerson Gymnasium.

Freshman Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Lyons (2-3), who ran their win streak against the Bears (4-1) to six while improving to 16-7 all-time against their foes from New London.

Freshman Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs)  established career-highs in both rebounds (eight) and assists (six) for Wheaton and was a key reason the Lyons outrebounded the Bears 44-29. Wheaton also picked up assists on 14 of its 20 field goals and held the conference's top scoring team (74.2 ppg) to just 31.3 shooting (15-of-48).

"Our team really executed the game plan," said Wheaton head coach Melissa Hodgdon. "That was the difference-maker for us (tonight). We wanted to match Coast Guard's toughness and physicality, and not get flustered by it. We also had to rebound – especially our guards – and they did the job tonight. Coast Guard was undefeated, and if we didn't do that, we would not have had a shot (to win)."

The two schools entered the half tied at 20. Junior Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) paced the Lyons with five points while Brickley and sophomore Lauren McClelland (Scituate, Mass./Notre Dame) each scored four points. Freshman Dani Knox (Centreville, Mass./Westfield) led the Bears with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting.

Wheaton opened the second half on a 13-6 run to take a 33-26 lead five minutes in, and stretched the lead to 10 (51-41) following a three by Trimboli with 6:56 to go. A layup by Brickley pushed the lead to 11 (50-39) with 1:58 left in the half, and a pair of free throws by both senior Nicole Cullinane (Rindge, N.H./New Hampton School) and senior Kristina Paolino (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic) sealed the Lyons second win of the season.

"Tonight was a great morale booster," said Lyons senior captain Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Academy). "We've been working really hard in practice every day to get better and learn from our mistakes. Tonight, we pulled together and were able to fix some of the things we've been working on. This is a great start to NEWMAC play."

McClelland finished with six points and seven boards for the Lyons, who also received eight points and three rebounds from Cullinane and five points and five rebounds from sophomore Melissa McLaughlin (Spindale, N.C./R-S Central).

Coast Guard sophomore Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich./Saline) – who entered the game second in the NEWMAC in scoring at 18.8 ppg – was held to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting while recording a game-high four steals. Knox finished with 11 points and three steals while freshman Brittney Zimmerman (Lewiston, Maine/Delaware Valley College) tallied seven points, five rebounds, and three steals.

The Lyons return to action on Saturday when they host Smith College at 2 p.m. Coast Guard travels to Worcester, Mass. for a 1 p.m. game with Clark on Saturday.

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