Lyons push conference record to 13-4, most NEWMAC wins in program history
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Wheaton College women's basketball pushed its winning streak to four-straight games using a balanced effort from its squad to claim a 65-60 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Saturday afternoon in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup inside Harrington Auditorium.
With the win, the Lyons (18-4, 13-4 NEWMAC) have established a new program record for the most NEWMAC victories in a single-season surpassing the previous high of 12 wins set by two different teams (2009-10, 2007-08). WPI falls to 8-13 overall and 6-10 in conference play in the loss.
Wheaton sophomore forward Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) recorded her third-straight double-double and sixth in her last seven games with 18 points, 11 rebounds, six blocks and two steals. Junior guard Laura Pierce (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton Academy) poured in a career-high 16 points going 5-for-8 from long range and 1-for-3 at the free throw line in addition to a game-high seven assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, N.H./Campbell) tallied 14 points, while junior guard Kirsten Ferrari (Lynn, Mass./Saint Mary's) had eight points and classmate Abbie Brickley (Sandy, Utah/Skyline) contributed six points, nine rebounds and a steal.
WPI junior guard Dani Davis (East Granby, Conn./East Granby) led the Engineers with 14 points, six boards and three assists. Classmate Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) notched 12 points, dished out six assists and hauled in three rebounds. Sophomore guard Lisa Mendez (Yonkers, N.Y./Maria Regina) turned in eight points off the bench and freshman forward Tess Nogueira (Merrimac, Mass./Pentucket Regional) and junior guard Jackie DeCristoforo (North Kingstown, R.I./North Kingstown) both added six points apiece.
In a game which featured seven lead changes and six ties, Wheaton held the Engineers at arm's length down the stretch after securing a 41-40 lead on a jumper from Arnone at the 9:44 mark. Pierce followed with a three-pointer on an assist by Arnone with 8:55 remaining before Mendez brought the contest back within one with a trey of her own on WPI's next possession (8:38).
The Lyons answered with back-to-back buckets from Shoemaker and Arnone for a six-point advantage (50-44) with 6:39 left to play. Wheaton then maintained its largest lead of the afternoon (six points) until the 1:12 mark when WPI responded with a layup from Nogueira and a jumper by Davis to make it a 60-58 contest with 38-seconds left on the scoreboard. The Lyons closed out the game at the free throw line going 5-for-6 at the charity stripe holding off the Engineers' comeback effort.
Wheaton shot 43.1-percent (22-for-51) from the field, 42.1-percent (8-for-19) from long range and 72.2-percent (13-for-18) at the free throw line. Both teams tied in the rebounding department with 36, while WPI recorded a 24-12 advantage in the paint. The Lyons countered with a 15-4 differential in second chance points.
Wheaton (18-4, 13-4 NEWMAC) travels to MIT on Wednesday, February 12 for a NEWMAC clash scheduled for 8 p.m. WPI (8-13, 6-10 NEWMAC) visits Emerson on Wednesday at 7 p.m.