NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: #2 Wheaton Takes On #7 Emerson

NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: #2 Wheaton Takes On #7 Emerson

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(Admission: $4 for adults and $2 for students, children and seniors)

NORTON, Mass. – Second-seeded Wheaton College will take on seventh-seeded Emerson College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinal round on Wednesday, February 25 at 7 p.m. inside Emerson Gymnasium.

THE MATCHUP: Wednesday's meeting will mark the third matchup between both squads this season. Wheaton is 2-0 in those contests defeating Emerson on January 13 (73-63, road) and February 18 (73-61, home).
 
In each victory, the Blue and White won the rebounding matchup (40-29, Jan. 13; 49-30, Feb. 18) and shot over 41.0-percent from the floor. The Lyons' starters also have combined for 120 out of a possible 146 points in both victories.
 
The Blue and White have never lost to Emerson in four meetings in a series that dates back just to 2013-14.
 
WHEATON (18-7, 13-3 NEWMAC):
The Lyons enter play ranked No. 5 in the country in assists per game (18.3), No. 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.17), No. 28 in three-point field goals made (7.0), No. 31 in field goal percentage (42.6), No. 39 in three-point field goal percentage (34.0) and no. 50 in free throw percentage (72.9).
 
Wheaton, winners in 13 out of its last 15 games, has never played Emerson in postseason play including contests in the NEWMAC or the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Tournament. The Lyons, 8-11 overall in the NEWMAC playoffs, advanced to the conference tournament semifinal round last year before falling to eventual NEWMAC champions Springfield College, 78-63.
 
Senior forward Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) leads the league in points per game at 19.2. Brickley also is averaging 8.7 rebounds and a 55.7 field goal percentage (second in the NEWMAC). Junior forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) is second on the squad in points per game at 13.6, while classmate Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) is third (9.3) and senior guard Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) is fourth (8.9).
 
Senior guard Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) is responsible for running the offense and has done so at a league-leading pace this season at 4.5 assists per game. Pierce currently ranks No. 15 among NCAA Division III student-athletes in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33) and No. 50 in assists per game. Pierce also is third all-time in career assists with 409.
 
EMERSON (12-13, 6-10 NEWMAC):
The Lions snapped a five-game losing skid in their regular season finale with a 72-63 triumph over Clark University before entering Wednesday's NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinal contest.


Senior forward Kristin Brice (Indiana, Penn./Indiana Area Senior) paces the offense averaging 9.1 points per game, while first-year guard Eastin Ashby (Pittston, Penn./Pittston Area) is second (8.6), junior guard Janissa Delzo (Middlesex, N.J./Wardlaw-Hartridge) is third (6.9) and first-year forward Sierra Ducey (Poway, Calif./The Bishop's School) is fourth (6.3).

In the first meeting against Wheaton, Brice registered 15 points and Ashby scored ten, but the Lyons locked down Brice in game two of the regular season series holding the senior to just two points. However, Ashby went off for a career-high 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting (4-for-8 3PT, 1-1 FT) only two games removed from scoring 22 points against WPI in a 62-57 loss.
 
As a team, Emerson averages 59.2 points per game, a 36.4 field goal percentage, 40.6 rebounds and 13.0 assists. Among the 434 women's basketball teams in the country this season, the Lions are positioned No. 13 in field goal percentage defense (32.2), No. 27 in defensive rebounds per game (30.0), No. 45 in blocked shots per game (4.7) and No. 64 in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.7).
 
The winner of Wednesday's matchup will play third-seeded Coast Guard or sixth-seeded MIT on Saturday, February 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Springfield, Mass.
 
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