Women’s Basketball Holds Off Smith, 74-70

Women’s Basketball Holds Off Smith, 74-70

Brickley pours in 28 points for the Lyons

POSTGAME COMMENTS WITH HEAD COACH MELISSA HODGDON

NORTON, Mass. – The Wheaton College women's basketball went 8-for-10 from the free throw line over the final 1:03 of regulation to hold on for an eventual 74-70 victory over Smith College on Saturday afternoon in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup inside Emerson Gymnasium.

Wheaton, who entered today's game ranked No. 12 in the country in free throw shooting percentage (76.3%), improves to 11-5 overall and 7-1 in NEWMAC play with the win today. The Lyons also extended their winning streak to six games, all coming against league opponents. Smith falls to 5-10 overall and 2-6 in the NEWMAC.

Senior forward Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) paced the hosts with a game-high 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field (10-for-12 FT), eight rebounds, three assists and one steal. Junior forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) registered her fourth double-double of the season with ten points and 12 rebounds in addition to game-highs in assists (6) and blocks (4).

Lyons' senior guard Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Glenwood Springs) compiled 11 points, five assists and four rebounds, while junior guard Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) added eight points, eight rebounds and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench. Senior guards Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass./St. Mary's) and Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) combined for 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one steal.

Smith senior co-captain Alyssa Barrett (Berlin, Conn./Berlin) notched a team-high 20 points that included a 6-for-9 effort from beyond the arc, while first-year guard Meghan Holland (Atherton, Calif./Sacred Heart Prep.) had 18 points, three steals, two assists, a pair of rebounds and one block. First-year guard/forward Samantha Alakai (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) chipped in with 14 points and four rebounds. Classmate Paige Marquez (San Francisco, Calif./Saint Ignatius College Prep.) fashioned nine points, five rebounds and three assists to round out the list of highlights for the Pioneers.

Tied 29-29 at the break, Wheaton came out strong at the beginning of the second half using a 13-0 run to post a 42-29 advantage on the scoreboard, its largest lead of the entire game (13 points), with 15:24 to play in the contest. Kuhn tallied a team-high five points during the spurt, while Pierce, Shoemaker, Ferrari and Brickley all added one basket each over the 4:39 span.

Smith wasted little time responding by cutting its deficit down to 44-42 at the 9:17 mark of the contest. The Pioneers engineered a 13-2 run (6:07 elapsed) receiving two 3-pointers from Holland to spark the offensive outburst. First-year guard Tavorsia Talley (New Hope, Pa./Solebury School) capped the run with a slick crossover and smooth finish at the rim after obtaining the ball at the top of the key off an inbounds play under the basket.

The Lyons answered right back, however, with a quick 9-0 run as Brickley contributed four points, Pierce swished a trey from the right wing and Kuhn buried two free throws at the 6:02 mark for a 53-42 gap over the visitors.

Both teams exchanged plenty of points over the following 4:59 before Smith chipped away at the score to make it a one possession game with 27-seconds left to play. Barrett was the difference for the Pioneers from the 6:02 mark on, as the senior guard canned all four 3-pointers she took, went 5-for-6 from the field, and also added one assist.

Holland's fourth and final 3-pointer with 27-seconds remaining in the contest put Smith down by a score of 71-68, but Wheaton went 3-of-4 at the line to close out the win.

The Lyons held a 43-40 differential in rebounds and a 44-28 margin in points in the paint. The Pioneers had a 46-8 advantage in bench points and a 13-7 differential in points off turnovers. Despite facing a press for the majority of the contest, the Blue and White committed fewer turnovers than the visitors (15-14).

Wheaton (11-5, 7-1 NEWMAC) travels to MIT on Wednesday, January 21 for a conference clash at 6 p.m. Smith (5-10, 2-6 NEWMAC) visits Middlebury next Tuesday for a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m.

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