Lyons tie second longest winning streak in program history with 11-0 start
NEW LONDON, Conn. – Wheaton College, who is among teams receiving votes in the USA Today Sports Top-25 Women's Basketball Coaches' poll, handed Coast Guard Academy its first loss of the season in a battle of unbeaten squads on Saturday afternoon at Roland Hall.
Wheaton guards Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell), Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) and Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) combined for 40 points to lead the Lyons to their 11th straight victory of the season tying the second longest streak in program history (2/12/1994-3/12/1994).
Junior forward Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) contributed ten points and seven boards including four on the offensive glass and sophomore forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) fell one point shy of her fifth double-double of the season with nine points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Shoemaker currently ranks second all-time in program history with 96 career blocks, while Pierce dished out seven assists in the contest to give her 206 total over three seasons. Pierce is now 20 assists shy for tenth all-time on the career assists list.
Coast Guard sophomore guard Torie Sutherland (Houston, Texas/Clear Lake) registered her second double-double of the season and fifth of her career with a team-high 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Sutherland also tied Pierce for the game-high in assists with seven on the afternoon. The Bears had three other student-athletes score in double figures including sophomore guard Meghan Fornaro (Charlton, Mass./Shepherd Hill), senior guard Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich./Saline) and junior forward Jamie Waterman (Jasper, Ga./Pickens). Ward tallied 13 points and three steals, Fornaro had 12 points, six assists and four rebounds and Waterman rounded out the trio with ten points.
Wheaton took a 44-32 lead into the break utilizing a 16-for-27 (59.3%) showing from the field in the opening stanza. The Lyons broke open a 12-11 advantage at the 13:34 mark with a 16-6 run over a 4:59 span. Wheaton used six different scorers in the offensive outburst with Shoemaker, Arnone, Ferrari and Pierce tying for the team-high during the spurt with three points apiece. Brickley capped the run with a layup and senior Lauren McClelland (Scituate, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) buried a jumper at 11:43 to make it a 17-11 lead to highlight the scoring.
The Lyons led by as many as 14 points (46-32) early in the second half (19:12), but Coast Guard fought its way back into the contest dwindling the gap to just one point with 5:22 left to play (61-60). Fornaro guided the comeback effort with eight points including a pair of three-pointers and Sutherland chipped in with seven points.
With the game tied at 63-63 after a three-pointer from Bears' junior guard Brittney Zimmerman (Lewistown, Pa./Delaware Valley College), McClelland answered for Wheaton with a jumper in the paint at the 3:36 mark and the Lyons went on to close out the game with a 6-0 run making 4-of-6 of their free throws down the stretch.
The Blue and White, who never trailed in the contest, held a 28-22 advantage in points in the paint, a 12-8 differential in bench points and a 17-5 margin off of turnovers. The Bears won the matchup on the boards 45-33 including a 22-10 showing on the offensive glass.
Wheaton (11-0, 6-0 NEWMAC) hosts conference-foe WPI on Tuesday, January 7 inside Emerson Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Coast Guard (7-1, 4-1 NEWMAC) takes on Curry College tomorrow at home with tip-off scheduled for 1 p.m. The Lyons improve to 19-9 overall in the all-time series against the Bears which dates back to 1985-1986.