Worcester, MA --- Sophomore Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury, MA) made a pair of free throws with eight seconds left and host Clark snapped WPI's nine-game winning streak with a dramatic 53-51 win in NEWMAC women's basketball on Saturday afternoon at the Kneller Athletic Center.
The victory for the Cougars snaps their own three-game losing streak and ends a six-game skid against the Engineers in league play. Clark improves to 7-12 overall and 6-6 in conference play while WPI slips to 14-4 and 10-2 in league action.
The game was tight the entire way, featuring seven ties and seven lead changes and the Cougars never had an advantage larger than two points all afternoon.
Clark's last lead before Giedymin's game-winning free throws came on an Emily Reilly (Marlboro, MA) layup to make the score 19-17 with 4:30 left in the opening half.
Elle Fontaine (Franklin, MA) then scored six straight points to spark an 8-0 run before the Engineers settled for a 26-23 halftime edge.
That lead ballooned to 30-23 after Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY) scored the first the two baskets of the second half.
The Cougars made a few runs over the first ten minutes of the half getting as close as one on a pair of occasions, but WPI had an answer each time, including a 7-0 burst on the strength of a Fontaine triple and a pair of Hannmann baskets to give the Engineers their biggest lead of the game at 43-35 with 9:30 left.
Clark responded, however, and with less than three minutes remaining, the Cougars evened the score at 49-49 when Reilly split a pair of free throws.
Reilly, who earlier this season tied the game late in an eventual win over Springfield, had her baseline shot blocked by Fontaine, but Giedymin grabbed the board but missed her short jumper attempt with 36 seconds left. Megan Grondin (Cumberland, ME) was in the perfect spot and was able to grab the offensive rebound and finish to even the score at 51-51 with 33 seconds left.
Fontaine's corner three-pointer with ten seconds left was long and a scramble for the loose ball resulted in a foul on WPI, setting up Giedymin's heroics.
A career 85 percent free throw shooter, Giedymin stepped to the line and calmly sank each attempt.
The Engineers still had a chance to either win or tie but after a turnover by each team at halfcourt, Fontaine's jumper from the top of the key fell short and the Cougars had their first victory over WPI since November of 2008.
In a game that was pretty even throughout, the stats were close as well. Both teams had 22 points in the paint and each squad shot 33 percent from the field. Clark held a slight edge in rebounds (46-41) and bench points (11-10) but the Engineers had more assists (14-12) and two less turnovers (14-12).
Fontaine finished with a game-high 15 points, but shot just 6-for-19 from the field. She added 10 rebounds, five blocks, four assists and two steals to collect her fifth double-double of the season.
She was joined in double figures by Hannmann, who added 14 points, while Theresa Logan (Southboro, MA) provided six points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Clark was paced by Reilly's 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ashleigh Condon (Hull, MA) added ten points, seven rebounds and four helpers, while Giedymin chipped in with ten points and four rebounds. The interior combination of Grondin and Ivori Aiken (Harlem, NY) totaled 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Both teams will play crucial conference contests on Wednesday. Clark travels to Wheaton, while the Engineers host Springfield.
Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information