Brickley leads Lyons with a game-high 22 points
NEW LONDON, Conn. – The Wheaton College women's basketball team opened up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play with a 52-45 victory versus Coast Guard on Wednesday night at Roland Gym.
Sophomore forward Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) poured in a game-high 22 points for the Lyons on 9-of-13 shooting from the field (1-for-1 from beyond the arc), six rebounds and four steals. Junior guard Melissa McLaughlin (Spindale, N.C./R-S Central) filled out the stat sheet with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, five assists, four rebounds (two offensive), three steals and one block.
Wheaton shot 41.3-percent in the contest (19-for-46) and 45.5-percent in the first half which attributed to its 25-19 advantage at the end of the opening stanza. The Lyons defense, which turned in a season-high 17 steals, held the Bears to a 28.0-percent field goal percentage in the first half and a 33.3-percent field goal percentage for the game.
Freshman guard Meghan Fornaro (Charlton, Mass./Shepherd Hill) notched a team-high 13 points, four rebounds and four steals for Coast Guard. Junior forward Larla Brown (Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood Park) tallied nine points and four rebounds while classmate and guard Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich./Saline) registered nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The Lyons trailed 11-10 at the 10:40 mark of the first half but responded with a 15-4 run over the next eight minutes and seven seconds of play to jump out to a 25-15 lead. Wheaton eventually took a 25-19 advantage into the half with Brickley accounting for 17 of her 22 points in the stanza.
Coast Guard answered in the second half scoring the first three buckets on two jumpers from Brown and a layup by Ward to even the score at 25-25. Wheaton fired back with a 7-0 run as Brickley put home a layup at 16:55, McLaughlin swished a three-pointer at 16:26 and junior forward Lauren McClelland (Scituate, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) canned a layup at 14:28 to cap the scoring outburst.
McClelland also gave the Lyons their biggest lead of the night with another layup at 8:25 to push Wheaton's gap to 41-31. The Bears cut the deficit to as five points towards the tail end of the half on a three-point basket from Ward with 29 seconds remaining. McLaughlin sealed the victory from the free throw line six seconds later on a pair of free throws.
The Lyons bench outscored Coast Guard, 12-5, while the Bears edged Wheaton in points in the paint, 20-18. The Lyons shot 64.3-percent (9-for-14) from the free throw line. Coast Guard went 6-for-15 from the charity stripe (6-for-15).
Wheaton (3-2, 1-0 NEWMAC) travels to Smith College on Saturday, December 1st for a NEWMAC matchup with opening tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. Coast Guard (2-3, 0-1 NEWMAC) hosts Clark University in NEWMAC action on Saturday at 1 p.m.