January 25, 2012

Stong defense propels Lyons to 60-44 win at Coast Guard

VIDEO: Highlights from Wheaton/Coast Guard

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Freshman Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) poured in a game-high 16 points to give Wheaton College a 60-44 win over Coast Guard Academy in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action Wednesday evening at Merriman Gymnasium.

Seniors Gabbie DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Rumson-Fair Haven Regional) and Nicole Cullinane (Rindge, N.H./New Hampton School) each added 13 points to help the Lyons (8-10, 6-5 NEWMAC) pick up their fifth win in their last seven games. Defensively, the Lyons held the Bears (5-10, 1-10 NEWMAC) to 25.4 pct. shooting (15-of-59) and outrebounded them 43-37.

The Lyons took a 29-20 lead into the locker room at halftime behind 11 points from Brickley and eight from Cullinane. Wheaton - which shot 43.3 pct. in the first half - closed the half on a 9-0 run, sparked by a pair of buckets from Brickley and a triple by Cullinane. The Bears, meanwhile, connected on 26.9 pct. (7-of-26) of their shots and turned the ball over eight times, compared to just three for the Lyons. Sophomore Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich./Saline) and freshman Brittney Zimmerman (Lewiston, Pa./Delaware Valley College) paced CGA with five points each.

Brickey recorded a three-point play early in the second half to give the Lyons a 37-26 lead. Coast Guard cut its deficit to eight at 48-40 with less than five minutes remaining, but junior Gabby Barbera (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) buried a three with 4:20 on the clock to push the lead back to double-digits. Less than a minute later, Cullinane drained her third three-pointer of the game to put Wheaton up 53-41 and essentially seal the win.

"Road wins are really important this time of year," said Lyons head coach Melissa Hodgdon. "We have two freshman starters who are playing like veterans. We were able to withstand a late push by Coast Guard. We outrebounded them in the second half, which was key to our win tonight. We wanted to get a hand in the shooter's face and make them put the ball on the floor. Their post game hurt us a little bit early in the second half, but we made an adjustment out of a time out that kept them from getting as many easy looks."

Freshman Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs) snared a career-high 13 rebounds for Wheaton and also tied a career-high six with assists. As a team, the Lyons finished the night shooting 43.6 pct. (24-of-55).

Ward led Coast Guard with 12 points and six rebounds while freshman Jamie Waterman (Jasper, Ga./Pickens) recorded nine points and 10 rebounds. Zimmerman finished with eight points, three assists and a pair of steals.

The Lyons return to action on Saturday when they travel to Smith for a 2 p.m. contest. The Bears host Clark Saturday at 1 p.m.

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