SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – January 26, 2008 –Liz Brosseau scored 16 points and Lauren O’Connor added 15 to lead the Springfield College women’s basketball team to a 56-50 victory over Worcester Polytechnic Institute this afternoon in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference game at James Naismith Court at Blake Arena.
With the win, Springfield raised its record to 9-7 overall, and 4-1 in the NEWMAC, while WPI fell to 8-8 overall, and 3-3 in the conference.
Brosseau, a junior center/forward from Franklin, Mass., scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half, when Springfield put on a surge to catch the Engineers. O’Connor, a junior center from Valhalla, N.Y., tallied 8 of her 15 points in the same stanza. Brosseau and O’Connor each had a game-high 11 rebounds. No one else scored in double figures for the Pride. The next closest was junior forward Corey Finch (Hanover, Pa.) with 6 points. Brosseau also had 4 steals.
For WPI, two players scored in double figures. They were freshman guard Elle Fontaine (Franklin, Mass.) with 13 points, and sophomore guard/forward Rachel Salvatori (Williston, Vt.) with 12. The leading rebounders for the Engineers, all with 6, were sophomore forward Serena Dubois (Bangor, Me.), junior guard Natasha Deschene (Presque Isle, Me.), and sophomore guard Kaileen Selen (Worcester, Mass.).Dubois also had 4 steals.
The game started well for the Pride, leading 6-0 just 1:26 into the contest. From there, however, both teams pretty much matched baskets until Brosseau made a 3-point play with 3:02 remaining in the half, putting Springfield up by seven, 21-14.
But here is where WPI came on strong, establishing some control of its own. In those last three minutes of the half, WPI went on a 10-0 run, beginning with a 3-pointer by Salvatori. Deschene then made a free throw with a 2:08 left, and Salvatori made a lay-up with 1:53 to go. Dubois then stole the ball, was fouled, and made two free throws, giving WPI its first lead of the game at 22-21 with 1:30 to go. Two more free throws by Dubois with 1:03 left gave the Engineers a 24-21 lead at the intermission.
A lay-up by Selen in the first 51 seconds of the second half gave WPI its largest lead of the game, 26-21. With 12:31 left, a lay-up by Salvatori still had WPI up by four, 35-31.
From here, however, Springfield would outscore WPI, 25-15, the rest of the way. Senior guard Tara McCarthy (Bristol, R.I.) cut the lead to two, 35-33, with 12:06 left. And then it was O’Connor who made a conventional 3-point play to give the Pride what turned out to be the lead for good (36-35) with 11:35 left.
It was a 16-2 run for Springfield over a 5:25 period, at the end of which Springfield had its largest lead of the game, 47-37, with 7:25 left. In that time period, six different players scored for Springfield, led by O’Connor’s five. A big momentum boost occurred when freshman guard Annie Lasek (Southampton, Mass.) made a 3-pointer with 8:49 left. That gave Springfield a 44-37 lead.
Trailing by 10, WPI still had some fight left in it. A lay-up by senior guard Kate Maki (Fitchburg, Mass.) cut the lead to as close as three points (50-47) with 2:39 left. WPI had two chances to make it closer, but Brosseau made a short jumper with 1:50 left, giving the Pride a 5-point edge (52-47). From there, senior guard Christine Cotter (Stoughton, Mass.) made two free throws with 46 seconds left, and Brosseau added two more free throws with 21 seconds left, giving SC a 56-47 lead. Selen then made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the final 56-50.
Neither team shot well from the floor. Springfield shot .380 for the game (19-of-50). WPI shot just .277 (18-of-65). WPI shot just .212 in the first half, yet still led at that juncture, mostly due to SC turnovers (15 at halftime). SC finished with 25 turnovers to WPI’s 17. Springfield out-rebounded WPI, 44-38.
Up next, Springfield is at Clark on Wednesday, January 30 at 7:00 pm. WPI will host Babson on the same evening at the same time.