January 9, 2010 - Meghan Biondolillo registered a game-high 16 points to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a hard-fought 63-53 win over Wellesley College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena.
With the win, the Pride is now 5-8 overall, and 3-3 in NEWMAC play. Wellesley falls to 3-8 overall, and 1-5 in the conference.
Biondolillo, a freshman guard from Levittown, N.Y., scored eight of her 16 points in the first half, including two 3-pointers which helped keep Springfield in the game at that point. Wellesley had led by as many as 13 points a little beyond the midway mark of that half, but ultimately settled for a three-point lead (32-29) at the intermission.
Also scoring in double figures for Springfield were sophomore forward Kelly Slattery (Somers, Conn.) with 13 points (and 6 rebounds), and junior center Amelia Sapowsky (Ware, Mass.) with 11 points (and 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks). Sophomore guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) also contributed with 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Wellesley was led by freshman Malia Maier (Torrance, Calif.) with 11 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds. Scoring 9 points was senior Katie Martore (Great Falls, Va.). Right behind her were freshman Becca Kimball (Weston, Mass.) and sophomore KD Stearns (Eustis, Fla.) with 8 points apiece. Kimball added 5 rebounds, Stearns 4.
Two major categories -- rebounding and field goal percentage -- were decidedly in favor of the home team. Springfield outrebounded the Blue, 40-21, during the course of the contest. SC also shot .514 from the field (18-of-35), while Wellesley shot just .275 (14-of-51). It was the first time Springfield had shot better than 50% from the floor in 13 games this season (previous best was .476 at Worcester State in the season-opener). Meanwhile, Wellesley had an edge in forcing 27 turnovers, while committing 19, and shooting well from the free throw line (.900) on 18-of-20 from the stripe.
Wellesley led the vast majority of the first half. The Blue led 19-14 with 9:14 remaining, and then went on an 8-0 run in the next three minutes, culminated by a 3-pointer by Martore. That gave Wellesley its largest lead at 27-14 with 6:18 left.
With 3:14 left, following two free throws by Kimball, the Blue still led by 12 at 32-20. But then SC went on a 9-0 run to finish the half, with Biondolillo making big 3-pointers with 2:04 and 1:18 left.
It was nip-and-tuck through the first 8 1/2 minutes of the second half. When Maier made two free throws with 11:43 left, Wellesley held a 42-41 advantage. But a 3-pointer by Murphy with 11:24 to go gave the Pride the lead for good at 44-42. That was followed by a free throw by Biondolillo with 8:56 left, a lay-up by Biondolillo with 6:56 to go, and a lay-up by Slattery with 6:11 to go -- and suddenly SC had scored eight straight to take a 49-42 lead. That spurt proved decisive.
Wellesley closed to within four on three occasions, once at 53-49 with 2:49 to go. But Sapowsky scored the next four points on two free throws and a lay-up with 1:57 left to make it a little more comfortable for the Pride.
Up next, both teams will play conference games on Wednesday, the 13th. Springfield will travel to Coast Guard for a 5:30 pm encounter, while Wellesley will host league-leader Babson at 7 pm.