Northampton, MA --- The Smith College women's basketball team rallied to defeat visiting WPI 65-59 in overtime in NEWMAC action on Wednesday night. The win locks up the No. 2 seed and a bye for the Pioneers in next week's NEWMAC tournament.
Smith improves to 18-5, with a 13-4 record in NEWMAC play. The Pioneers are now one win away from tying the single season record for wins. WPI dips to 9-15, and 7-10 in the NEWMAC. The Engineers are now tied for the sixth and final spot in the NEWMAC Tournament with Wheaton. WPI, who owns the tiebreaker due to its sweep over the Lyons, can get in the playoffs with either a win at over Coast Guard or a Wheaton loss at Mount Holyoke on Saturday.
A game that started out with both teams combining to miss their first 16 shots saw regulation ended in regulation with a frantic sequence. Amanda Zakoske's free throw with 4:39 to play gave the Pioneers a 52-51 lead, and after the teams traded missed three pointers, Cindy Chelius (Northfield, NJ) drained a short jumper to give WPI the lead. Chelius added a free throw for a two point WPI advantage, but Maddie Page's (Arvada, CO) coast to coast layup with 1:19 tied the game at 54.
Out of a Smith timout, WPI took the lead again on another Chelius basket, only to see Rosa Drummond's (Rye, NH) layup knot the game at 56 with 11 seconds remaining. The Engineers held for a final shot, but Ellie Giles (Charlottesville, VA) swooped in at the last second to block Chelius' shot and force the first overtime game of the year for Smith.
Smith missed three point shots on their first three possesions of overtime, and Baillie McNally (Mapleville, RI) drained a triple from the corner for a 59-56 WPI lead, but the Engineers would not score again. Page sank 1-of-2 at the free throw line, then picked McNally's pocket and scored to level the score at 59. Drummond sank a three to give Smith the lead for good, A Paulina Solis (Santa Ana, CA) free throw and another basket from Drummond at the buzzer ended the scoring.
Both teams started ice cold at the beginning of the game, but Smith took a 27-20 lead with 3:04 left in the first half when Solis tipped in Page's shot, but WPI finished the half on a 7-4 run to cut the lead to 31-27 at halftime. Smith tok a 39-35 lead in the second half thanks to consecutive buckets from Ellie Giles, only to see the Engineers take a 47-44 lead on Dani Davis' (East Granby, CT) basket with 9:20 to play. Smith tied the game at 50 on another layup by Page, setting the stage for the tense regulation finale.
Theresa Logan (Southboro, MA) led all scorers with 21 points for WPI, while Solis and Page both netted 17 for Smith. Giles added 10 points, five rebounds, and four blocks, the last of which was the most critical. Davis pulled down 11 rebounds for WPI, who knocked down 16 of 23 shots from the free throw line.
Smith will finish out the regular season with a visit from Wellesley on February 18 at 2 p.m. WPI, whose five game winning streak was snapped, will host Coast Guard at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Majority Release of Smith Sports Information