January 11, 2012

Cullinane's career night leads Lyons past Wellesley, 50-47

WELLESLEY. Mass. - Senior Nicole Cullinane (Rindge, N.H./New Hampton School) scored a career-high 16 points to lead the Wheaton College women's basketball team to a 50-47 win over Wellesley College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Wednesday night at Keohane Sports Center.

Cullinane scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half and knocked down four 3-point field goals to help the Lyons (5-8, 3-4 NEWMAC) win for the third time in their last four outings. Freshman Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) added 11 points, three rebounds, one block and one steal while senior Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) chipped in with eight points, nine boards, two assists and one block.

The Lyons built an 11-5 lead in the opening minutes of the game behind six points from Brickley. Wellesley (5-7, 4-3 NEWMAC) battled back to tie the game at 14 with 9:53 remaining behind the strength of three-pointers from junior Malia Maier (Torrance, Calif./Palos Verdes Estates) and sophomore Leslie Leong (Sacramento, Calif./John F. Kennedy). 

Cullinane and Maier then exchanged three-pointers before a free throw from Brickley gave the Lyons a one-point lead (22-21) heading into the break. Brickley led all scorers with seven points while Maier and freshman Morgyne Weaver (Oklahoma City, Okla./Mt. St. Mary) each netted six for Wellesley.

Wheaton opened up a 37-29 lead midway through the second half behind six points from DePalo and five from Cullinane. The Blue climbed to within two points at 41-39 before the Lyons responded with a 7-2 run - sparked by five points from Cullinane - to take a 48-41 lead with 2:40 remaining. Wellesley got to within three (50-47) with 55 ticks on the clock, but the Lyons held the home team scoreless the rest of the way.

Cullinane also grabbed seven rebounds and tallied three steals. Sophomore Lauren McClelland (Scituate, Mass./Notre Dame) came off the bench to score seven points and grab four rebounds. As a team, Wheaton shot 41.2 percent from the field (21-of-51) and held the Blue to just 30.8 percent (20-of-65) shooting. The Lyons also held a 37-33 edge on the glass.

Leong led Wellesley with 15 points and nine boards. Weaver added 14 points while Maier tallied six points, five assists, and three steals.

The Lyons host Clark Saturday at 3 p.m. while the Blue travel to WPI for a 3 p.m. tip-off.

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