Worcester, MA --- Megan Grondin (Cumberland, ME) racked up a career-high 20 points go along with five rebounds as Clark defeated host WPI 57-53 in a NEWMAC women's basketball cross-town matchup on Saturday afternoon at the Harrington Auditorium. With the win, Clark now holds an 11-6 record with a 7-3 mark in the NEWMAC while WPI falls to 4-13 with a 2-8 conference record.
The Cougars jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the opening minutes, capped off by a jumper in traffic from Kate Minister (Manchester, England). The Engineers countered with a 12-5 run that shaved the lead to two after a Siena Mamayek (Melrose, MA) layup with 9:08 remaining in the first half. With tough rebounding and defense, Clark quickly regained momentum, scoring 13 of the next 15 points including a pair of layups from Emily Reilly (Marlborough, MA). Shooting was the difference in the opening period, as the Cougars outshot the Engineers 41 to 24 percent, helping Clark take a 31-21 lead into halftime, led by Grondin's ten points. Three players accounted for 20 of WPI's 21 first-half points, as Mamayek and Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, NY) each scored seven points while Kelly Morgan (Brookline, NH) added six.
The teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of the second half, with neither team building much momentum until back-to-back jumpers by WPI's Theresa Logan (Southboro, MA) and Morgan pulled the Engineers to within five at 37-32 with 14:40 remaining. Hannmann added a 3-point play a minute later to pull the hosts to within two. On the next possession, WPI's Cindy Chelius (Northfield, NJ) plowed through the lane for a layup, tying the game at 37-37 with 13:32 left in the game. The Cougars recovered with a 7-2 rally to retake the lead, capped off by a 3-pointer from Ashleigh Condon (Hull, MA). The Engineers answered with a 6-0 run to tie the game, only to give up a coast-to-coast layup from Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury, MA) to put her team up 46-44 with 9:37 remaining. WPI took its first lead of the game when Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) made a layup to put the Crimson and Gray up 48-46.
After a 3-point play by Grondin gave Clark the lead back, both teams went scoreless for next four minutes until a jumper by Hannmann gave WPI a 50-49 lead with 2:59 left in the game. A minute later, Condon would answer with a short jumper as the visitors pulled ahead. Down 53-50 with less than a minute left, the Engineers were unable to get a shot to fall and were forced to foul. Hannmann then nailed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds remaining and WPI down 55-53. After two free throws by Grondin, Davis couldn't get a 3-pointer to fall, and the Cougars would escape with the win.
Grondin scored ten points in each period and was clutch for Clark when it mattered most. Condon was an all-around force with 14 points, a career-highs of and ten rebound and five steals with three assists. Reilly also scored in double-figures with 11 points while pulling down four boards. Giedymin added seven points.
Hannmann led all scorers with 23 points with 16 of those coming in the second half as she nearly carried her team to a comeback win. She also had seven rebounds and a career-high five steals, with four of those coming in the second period. Morgan added nine points, shooting 50% from the floor. Mamayek pulled down a career-high nine rebounds while finishing with seven points. The Engineers' bench outscored their Clark counterparts 17-5, but it was not enough.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday at 7pm. WPI heads to league leader and nationally-ranked Babson while Clark entertains Springfield.
Story written by Mike Rupp - WPI Athletics