NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College women's basketball team honored its two graduating seniors, Bridget Nicholson and Sophia Black, prior to its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest against the United States Coast Guard Academy Wednesday evening in Emerson Gymnasium. The Bears completed their sweep of the Lyons with a 66-57 overtime win.
The Lyons were paced by first-year Natalie Wind who netted 17 points off the bench, while Black ended the night with 15 points in her final regular season game in Emerson Gymnasium. Ruthie Zientek ended the contest with a team-high eight rebounds, while Emily Cuthbertson came up with a team-high three steals.
Micaela Martinelli knocked down a game-high 22 points for the Bears, while teammate Gill Gerton chipped in 14. Breanna Wood pulled down a game-high 10 boards, while Martinelli collected eight and Johanna Moolenaar and Gerton each grabbed six.
Both teams had several chances from the floor, with the Bears shooting 36.7% (22-60), while the Lyons shot 31.5% (17-54). Wheaton held a drastic advantage in shooting from outside, nailing 7-of-18 (38.9%) from three-point range, while the Coast Guard shot just 16.0% (4-25).
Black took charge of her night, starting the opening quarter with a quick layup, sparking a 6-2 opening run by the Lyons. Wind handed Wheaton its largest lead of the game at the 4:30 mark with an unassisted three-pointer, making it a 12-6 contest. A three from Laura Irish cut the Bear deficit to just three points, 17-14, with 1:55 to go in the first quarter. Cuthbertson countered with a three-pointer of her own, sending the Lyons into the second quarter with a 20-14 advantage.
Martinelli and Amanda Roy opened the second quarter with back-to-back uncontested jumpers, pulling the Coast Guard within two, 20-18, with 6:40 remaining until halftime. Abby Hamilton and Black teamed up to push the Wheaton lead back to six just two minutes later. The Bears continued to chip away at the deficit, eventually pulling within a single point on a good free-throw from Gerton. The Lyons would once again have the final say, closing out the second quarter with an untraditional three-point play from Hamilton, taking a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
An inspired Coast Guard team came out of halftime ready to go, capturing its first lead of the game with a 5-0 run that made it a 31-30 contest. The two sides battled for every point the rest of the way, tying the contest six times throughout the third and fourth quarter. With the game deadlocked at 45-45 with 3:00 to go in the game, the Bears used a jumper from Martinelli and two free-throws from Wood to take a 49-45 lead. Zientek pulled the Lyons within a single point with 1:33 to play, before a Wind free-throw tied the contest, sending the game into overtime.
Gerton broke the stalemate with 3:14 to go in overtime with a three-pointer that handed the Bears the lead for good.
At half time of the contest, the Lyons celebrated National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) by honoring its senior female student-athletes.
NGWSD began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player, Flo Hyman, for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died of Marfan's Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day devoted to acknowledging the past accomplishments of female athletes and recognizing current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.
Wheaton returns to the court on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Smith College for a 2 p.m. tip.