Worcester, MA --- Melissa McLaughlin (Spindale, NC) led all scorers with 17 points and the visiting Lyons enjoyed a 48-22 advantage on the glass as Wheaton defeated WPI 53-39 in a NEWMAC women's basketball match-up on Tuesday evening.
The Lyons are now 4-3 overall and improve to 2-1 in conference action while the hosts slip to 3-3 on the season and 1-2 in NEWMAC play.
The WPI defense forced the Lyons into missing their first 13 shots over the opening 6:44 en route to sprinting out to a 6-0 advantage. Over the next nine minutes the Engineers only converted a single field goal of their own as Wheaton scored 16 of the next 20 points to take a 16-10 lead.
Buoyed by a trio of first half trifectas by McLaughlin, the Lyons took a six-point advantage into the waning seconds before intermission, but a pair of Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) buckets in the final 18 seconds sliced the Lyon bulge to 24-22 at the break.
After WPI forged its third and final tie nine seconds into the second half. Wheaton rattled off the next nine points, keyed by a pair of baskets by Jana Jagodzinski (Old Greenwich, CT) and never relinquished the lead. The visitors played solid defense in the second stanza, holding the Engineers to 27.3% shooting from the floor and forcing nine miscues.
McLaughlin drained 6-of-9 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point ark. While collecting her 17 points. Abbie Brickley (Sandy, UT) chipped in with 10 points and Jagodzinski paced all reserves with nine off the bench.
Kiley Shoemaker (Fayetteville, NC) anchored the impressive Wheaton effort on the boards, corralling a game-best 12 boards while Kenzie Kuhn (Glenwood Springs, CO) hauled in eight and Rebecca Arnone (Litchfield, NH) and Brickley gobbled up seven each.
Dani Davis (East Granby, CT) led the WPI charge with 10 points and a game-high four steals. Pineda finished with a career-best nine points from her point guard position. Kelly Morgan (Brookline, NH) and Siena Mamayek (Melrose, MA) contributed eight and six points respectively.
Friday marks the final NEWMAC contest for both squads before the New Year's holiday. WPI heads to Babson to face the Pride while Wheaton hosts Wellesley. Both games tip at 7pm.