Springfield, Mass. -- February 23, 2011 -- Kelly Slattery poured in a game-high 25 points to go along with 12 rebounds to lead the Springfield College women's basketball team to a 72-58 victory over Wellesley College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Quarterfinals at Blake Arena on Wednesday evening.
With the win, the Pride is now 13-13 overall, while Wellesley finishes its season at 12-13. Last season, in the same arena, Wellesley defeated Springfield by a point to advance to the NEWMAC semifinal round.
Springfield, the #4-seed, will next play unbeaten, fourth-ranked, and #1-seeded Babson College at Babson Saturday at 1 pm in the NEWMAC semis. In the other semi, #3-seeded Smith will meet #2-seeded WPI. Tonight, Smith defeated #6-seeded Clark, 72-61, to advance.
The game was a tight one throughout the first half. SC led by as many as five points early on at 8-3. But Wellesley led by as many as four at 26-22 with 4:11 remaining in the stanza. At the intermission, SC led by two at 33-31.
In the second half, the score was tied at 33-all with 17:28 left. But a 3-pointer by senior guard Rachelle Walker (Lee, Mass.) her only points of the night, gave SC a lead at 36-33 with 15:43 left.
Wellesley cut the lead to one on three more occasions, and then tied it at 41-all with 11:35 to go. But a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Meghan Biondolillo (Levittown, N.Y.) then gave SC the lead for good with 11:21 to go. That was followed by a big three-point play by sophomore center Emily Walker (East Lyme, Conn.) with 9:58 left.
Mainly behind Slattery, the Pride mushroomed the lead to as many as 15 points (68-53) with 51 seconds remaining. Slattery, a junior forward from Somers, Conn., was 10-of-16 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. She also had three blocks, one assist, and one steal.
Two others scored in double figures for the Pride. They were senior guard Abby Connors (Douglas, Mass.) with 14 points, and junior guard Kelly Murphy (Mechanicville, N.Y.) with 12 points. Connors also added five assists, Murphy four assists and four steals. Emily Walker finished with seven rebounds.
Wellesley was led by sophomore guard Malia Maier (Torrance, Calif.) with 17 points. She was followed by freshman guard Leslie Leong (Sacramento, Calif.) with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, and by sophomore forward Becca Kimball (Weston, Mass.) with 11 points.
Springfield outrebounded the Blue, 35-32, for the game. Each team committed 18 turnovers. SC assisted 17 times on 24 baskets. Wellesley was making its living in the first half with its 3-point shooting. The Blue made 7-of-15 from beyond the arc in that period (.467). But it cooled off from long-range in the second half, making just 3-of-12 (.250).
Springfield made 24-of-49 from the floor for the game for a more than respectable .490 percentage. Wellesley made 21-of-58 for a .362 shooting percentage.
Springfield has already lost twice to Babson (25-0) this season. On January 6, at Babson, the score was 64-35. On January 22 at Springfield, the score was 66-45, although SC led by six (25-19) at the half.
(Photo by Cindi Williamson of Fat Dog Fotos)