Arnone's all-around game helps Lyons to 12th straight win
NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College, ranked No. 22 in the USA TODAY Sports/Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III Top-25 poll, ran its winning streak to 12-straight games with a 64-39 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) women's basketball action at Emerson Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Sophomore forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius), who was recently named the NEWMAC Player of the Week, notched a career-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds, five blocks and one assist, while sophomore guard Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) keyed the Lyons' victory on both ends of the floor with eight points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals. Wheaton now owns the second longest winning streak in program history (11/16/13–1/7/14) with its 12-0 start to the season.
Junior guard Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) dished out eight assists to pace the squad and also added six points and five rebounds. Classmate Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) finished with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and nine rebounds.
WPI guards Dani Davis (East Granby, Conn./East Granby) and Kelly Morgan (Brookline, N.H./Hollis-Brookline) both tallied a team-high nine points. Freshman forward Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, Mass./Pentucket Regional) registered five points, six rebounds and one block and senior forward Siena Mamayek (Melrose, Mass./Melrose) had five points and two steals.
The Lyons assisted on 21 of 24 field goals on the night, won the rebounding matchup 42-32 and held a 36-8 margin in points in the paint. The Engineers posted an 18-15 differential in points off of turnovers and a 10-8 clip in bench points.
After leading at the break 24-14, Wheaton manufactured a 14-point advantage (40-26) using a 16-12 run in the opening 8:56 of the second stanza. Brickley fueled the offense during the spurt with six points, while Pierce and Arnone both canned three-point baskets and Shoemaker contributed four points.
WPI made it a six-point contest on two separate occasions as the Engineers immediately answered with an 8-0 run capped by a three-pointer from Davis at the 9:50 mark (40-34). Shoemaker swished back-to-back free throws on the Lyons next possession after a reach-in foul to push their gap back to eight (42-34) before Davis buried a jumper at 8:39 to bring the game within two possessions once again.
Over the next 3:22 of play, Wheaton delivered the knockout blow with a 12-0 run to clinch its 12th straight victory. Brickley poured in five consecutive points to jump start the run, while Pierce delivered a jumper from long distance and Shoemaker finished a fastbreak layup at the 5:27 mark. Brickley got the transition basket going with a baseball pass to Arnone who then hit Shoemaker wide open near the left block.
The Lyons shot 50.0-percent (13-for-26) in the second half including an 11-for-17 showing at the free throw line. Wheaton entered tonight's contest ranked 31st overall among all NCAA Division III women's basketball programs in free throw percentage (74.0-percent).
Wheaton (12-0, 7-0 NEWMAC) hosts MIT on Thursday evening at home with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m. WPI (4-7, 2-4 NEWMAC) welcomes Emerson College to Harrington Auditorium on Thursday at 7 p.m.