Worcester, MA --- Kelly Slattery (Somers, CT) hit a game-winning layup with 3.4 seconds left to lead Springfield to a 41-40 NEWMAC victory over host WPI on Friday evening at Harrington Auditorium. With the win, Springfield improves to 4-4 and 2-2 in league action, while the Engineers drops to 3-6 and 1-3 in the NEWMAC.
With just 3:16 remaining and the Engineers down 35-33, Theresa Logan (Southboro, MA) hit a huge three to give the hosts the lead. Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY) followed that up a minute later with a turnaround jumper that put WPI up 38-35. After two Springfield free throws, WPI's Siena Mamayek (Melrose, MA) responded with two freebies of her own to put the Crimson and Gray up 40-37.
A steal by the Pride with less than a minute remaining would lead to a fast break layup from Colleen Dignum (Albany, NY) to pull the visitors to within one at 40-39. After WPI missed the front end of a one-and-one, Springfield would get the ball back with 12.5 seconds remaining. Following a timeout, the Pride took the ball the length of the floor where Andrea Butler (Cohoes, NY) found Slattery open on the right block and the senior drained the layup to give her team a 41-40 lead with 3.4 seconds left. WPI was unable to get a shot off, and Springfield left with the win.
The opening minutes of the game were dominated by the defenses as the Engineers forced eight Pride turnovers in the first seven minutes. But the WPI offense had a slow start, missing 17 of its first 18 shots while falling behind 6-2 with 11 minutes left in the opening period. A 9-2 Springfield run gave the Pride a 15-8 advantage before a late 13-1WPI spurt helped spark the hosts to a 23-18 halftime lead. Mamayek came off the bench to lead WPI with nine points in the first period, including a floater off the backboard as time expired.
WPI again started slow in the second half as Springfield opened up on a 16-4 run to take a 34-27 lead with 7:05 remaining in the game, led by Slattery who scored eight points for the Pride during that stretch. As they had in the first half, the Crimson and Gray responded, rattling off six straight points to pull within one, down 34-33 with 5:25 left. That would set up the thrilling conclusion.
Slattery led Springfield with 14 points and eight rebounds while also contributing two blocks and two steals at the defensive end. Butler contributed eight points and a game-high nine steals along with four assists. Jaimie Bickelhaupt (Brookfield, CT) pulled down eight boards and scored five points.
Logan finished with a game-best 15 points and seven rebounds, nearly leading her team to a comeback win. Hannmann pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds with six points. Mamayek finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in just 22 minutes.
WPI will be back in action after Christmas when they travel to Las Vegas to play in the D3hoops.com Classic. The Engineers play DeSales on Wednesday, December 28th at 4pm before playing defending national champion Amherst at the same time the following day. Springfield will play their next game on Tuesday, December 13th as they host Amherst.
Story written by Mike Rupp - WPI Athletics