New London, CT --- WPI outscored host Coast Guard by 19 points in the second half to erase a nine point halftime deficit en route to posting a 59-49 victory in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference regular-season finale.
The victory was the 200th of WPI head coach Cherise Galasso's 13-season career. Galasso now has 235 career wins, including 35 from a three-year stint at Regis.
The same two teams will meet Wednesday in the NEWMAC Tournament quarterfinals in Worcester as WPI (14-10, 10-8 NEWMAC) is the fourth seed and Coast Guard (10-4, 8-10 NEWMAC) is the seeded fifth.
WPI had three players in double figures for the game. Senior Cindy Chelius (Northfield, NJ) led the way with a career-high 17 points and was joined by sophomore Rachel Pineda (Shrewsbury, MA) and freshman Jessica Larsen (San Diego, CA) poured in 13 and 11, respectively, for the Engineers.
Freshman Victoria Sutherland (Houston, TX) scored a team-high 12 and was joined in double figures by junior Dani Knox (Centreville, TX). Sutherland also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Junior Larla Brown (Kingwood, TX) and sophomore Leigha Steinbeck (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI) scored six apiece off the bench for the Bears.
The Bears jumped out to a 31-22 halftime lead on the strength of 48.1 percent shooting (13-for-27) and forcing WPI into 12 turnovers.
The second half started well for the Bears as they were able to maintain a lead fluctuating between six and nine points for the first 7:43 before WPI went on a run. Trailing 37-33, Chelius scored on a layup to cut the deficit to just four. It was as close as the Engineers had been since it was 2-0, just minutes into the game.
Over the course of a 8:19 second span, beginning at the 11:48 mark of the second half, WPI went on a 21-6 run. During this time, Coast Guard missed nine of their 11 shots, while committing six of their 12 turnovers.
The Engineers really buckled down on defense in the second half, as they held the Bears to just 19.4 percent (6-for-31) shooting in the second half, including 0-for-15 from beyond the arc. Not only did they play terrific team defense, but WPI also managed to hold Coast Guard's two leading scorers – Sutherland and fellow freshman Meghan Fornaro (Charlton, MA) - to a combined 7-for-26 shooting.
Playing in the final home game of her career, senior Karli Collins (Jasper, GA) recorded a game and career-high six assists, to go along with her two points and three rebounds before fouling out with 5:01 to play.
Large Portion of Release Courtesy Coast Coast Sports Information